Sunday, November 30, 2014

DeValson Sellers Purl (1897-1962)

DeValson S. Purl, from the July 18, 1940 Robstown Recorder.

    A two-term district attorney in Texas, DeValson Sellers Purl was a candidate for District Court judge of Texas' 29th district in 1940. In addition to his political and judicial doings, Purl served with distinction in both World Wars and took part in the Nuremberg trials, where he served as an officer of the court.
  The youngest of ten children born to Georgetown, Texas sheriff Henry C. Purl and his wife, Mattie, DeValson S. Purl was born in Georgetown on December 29, 1897.  At the beginning of American involvement in World War I Purl enlisted for service in the U.S. Army, serving as a private in the 132nd Field Artillery regiment through the entirety of his service.
   Honorably discharged from service in 1919, Purl turned his attention to the study of law, and after being admitted to the state bar in 1925 removed to Corpus Christi, Texas. He would later become a member of a local law firm, Briggs, Lowe, and Purl. In November 1930 Purl was elected to the first of two terms as District Attorney for the counties of Nueces, Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy, and during his two terms (1931-1934) was recorded as using "vigorous prosecution" when it came to cases. Purl married sometime in the early 1930s to Corpus Christi native Bessie Martin, to whom he was wed for over thirty years. The couple is recorded as having been childless through the entirety of their marriage.
  Several years after leaving the office of District Attorney DeValson Purl reentered political life, announcing his candidacy for District Judge of the 28th District Court of Texas in July 1940. He had previously served as a special judge for Texas' 117th district court and was opposed for office by incumbent judge Willam Broadnax Hopkins (1866-1952). Purl faced an uphill battle during the campaign, as his opponent had served as judge of the 28th district since 1906. Despite his opponent's lengthy tenure on the bench, Purl's campaign notice in the Robstown Record urged potential voters to consider his "enviable record as district attorney",  as well as his being:
"Young enough and vigorous enough to accomplish a speedier, yet careful handling of the many cases on file and pledges his efforts to that end, his supporters say. He solicits the support of every citizen interested in clearing up the congestion now existing on the dockets."
Purl's campaign announcement from the Robstown Record, July 18, 1940.

    Despite glowing press like the announcement shown above, it was experience that won out, with incumbent Judge William Hopkins defeating Purl on election day. Hopkins would serve on the bench until his retirement in 1944, and at the time of his retirement had served as a judge for 52 years, the longest tenure on the Texas bench up to that time.
  Following his defeat, Purl returned to practicing law and at the dawn of World War II reentered the Army as a Major. After the war's conclusion, he served as an "officer of the court" at the Nazi war crimes trial held at Nuremberg. I would like to report more on Purl's service during this trial, but unfortunately little could be found. His death notice in the 1963 Texas Bar journal mentions his being a "prosecutor" at the trial, but this remains uncertain.
   After returning home from service Purl began a short affiliation with the U.S. Army Medical Center in Maryland, and later resided in Arizona, where he was employed as an "investigator of U.S. Government contracts with private companies", headquartered at the Institute of Solar Energy in Phoenix. Purl retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1956 and died in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 26, 1962, three days short of his 67th birthday. He was survived by his wife Betty and his remains were later moved to Washington, D.C. for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pleiades Orion Beard (1871-1955)

Portrait from the Texas Bar Journal, April 1955.

   Just what is it with Texas and oddly named public officials? To date over thirty Lone Star state political and judicial figures have been profiled here on the Strangest Names In American Political History and today's "honoree" is a very recent discovery, so recent in fact that I located his name earlier this morning via a 1955 edition of the Texas Bar Journal. Pleiades Orion Beard, a Texas district court judge, has an unusual first and middle name combo that could also double for a Roman gladiator or a character on Battlestar Galactica! While his space-age sounding name may be"out-there", Beard spent over five decades as a practicing attorney and was later elected to the offices of District Attorney and District Court Judge for Texas' 71st district.
   The son of William and Catherine Beall Beard, Pleiades Orion "P.O." Beard was born in Rusk County, Texas on December 13, 1871. He is presumed to have been given his outstandingly different name in honor of the Greek mythological figures referred to as the "Pleiades", a group of seven daughters born to Atlas (he of "world on shoulders" fame) and a sea nymph called Pleione. As the myth goes, Atlas was forced to support the "celestial spheres" on his shoulders, and afterward, Orion (the great huntsman) gave chase to the Pleiades, who in turn was turned into doves (and then stars) by Zeus. Certainly some very unusual names to give a child!!
  Beard began and concluded his early education in the "common schools" of Church Hill, Texas, and in 1891 was a graduate of the Summer Hill Select School of Omen. He would teach school for a period of two years and decided upon a career in law during the early 1890s. He began study under Henderson, Texas attorney Ned Morris and in 1893 was admitted to the Texas state bar.  
  Two years after being admitted to the bar Beard was elected to his first public office, that of County Attorney for Rusk County, Texas. He served in this post until 1900, and a year prior to leaving office married to Sallie McGehee (1870-1954), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. The couple had no children. 
   From 1900-1909 P.O. Beard maintained a law practice in Rusk County and in the latter year removed to Harrison County, Texas, settling in the city of Marshall. He would form a law practice here with Thomas Whitfield Davidson (1876-1974), later to serve as a  state senator, Lieutenant Governor and Federal Judge. Their firm lasted until 1916 when Beard was elected as District Judge for Texas' 71st district. A year after taking office Beard experienced personal tragedy with the death of his father, who was killed after "being thrown from his son's automobile as it turned a sharp curb."
   P.O. Beard served two terms as district judge, retiring in 1928. Active in the Knights of Pythias in addition to practicing law, Beard achieved major distinction in that organization in 1928 when he became Grand Chancellor of the Grand Domain of Texas, serving one year in office. Nearly two decades after leaving the post of Grand Chancellor Beard was awarded a fifty-year "jewel and card" from the Marshall, Texas Pythias Lodge for his long-standing connection to the order. Beard also attained high rank in the local Mason lodge, being a member of that order for over fifty years and was a "past grand master of his district."
   Beard continued to be active in public affairs well into his eighth decade, practicing law in Marshall as well as serving as the director of the Marshall Federal Savings and Loan Association. Widowed in 1954, Pleiades O. Beard died at age 83 on February 25, 1955 after having been ill for "several weeks." Both he and his wife Sallie were interred at the Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park following their deaths.
From the Corsicana Sun, February 26, 1955.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Uncas Norvell Clary (1881-1972)

Portrait from the Denton Record Chronicle, February 7, 1965.

   Today marks a return to the Lone Star State to examine the life of one Uncas Norvell Clary, one of the longest-serving mayors in Texas history. While I've become accustomed to profiling elected officials who served just one or two terms in office, I was quite taken aback when I discovered that Mr. Clary served as the Mayor of Prosper, Texas for 49 years!! From 1914-1963 this once small rural Texas town (now a prosperous suburb) was led by a man whose first name is also that of the prominent Mohegan Indian chieftain, Uncas, perhaps best known by some as a character in James Fenimore Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans."
   Despite being such a longstanding figure in the counties of Collin and Denton, Texas, Uncas N. Clary wasn't born a native Texan. His story begins in Bedford County, Tennessee, where he was born on December 19, 1881, the eldest of five children born to Benjamin and Maggie Norvell Clary. The Clary family removed to Texas when Uncas was two and several years after first moving to Texas settled in the then small unincorporated town of Prosper. Clary would attend schools local to the area and is recorded by the Denton Chronicle as having graduated from the local high school in the class of 1900.
   In 1909 "U.N." Clary first became affiliated with the Prosper State Bank, taking on the position of book-keeper. He would maintain an active role in the bank's management for a total of 56 years, and at the time of his retirement in 1965 was remarked  as being "one of Texas' oldest bankers in point of service." He assumed the presidency of the Prosper State Bank in 1929 and continued to hold that post until his retirement.
   One cannot mention the lengthy mayoralty of U.N. Clary without first giving a small backstory as to the origins of the town he led for so many years. Formed in 1902 from the merger of two other settlements (Rockhill and Richland), the town of Prosper came into being due to the construction of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. The town remained an unincorporated settlement until 1914 when townspeople voted not only to incorporate the town but also to elect a mayor. Uncas N. Clary was the man voters selected to be the inaugural holder of that office, and so began a near half-century tenure as Mayor of Prosper.

                          Mayor Clary as he was pictured in the April 14, 1963 edition of the Denton Record Chronicle.

   Clary would continue to be reelected "each time by write-in votes" and the Record-Chronicle notes that he was unopposed for that office at every election, except for "one lone instance." Clary married during his term in March 1927 to Virginia Maud Talkington (1892-1945) and following her death remarried to Vera Elizabeth Thompson (1900-1986) in June 1947. In addition to serving as mayor, U.N. Clary was an active Mason and member of the First Methodist Church, also busying himself as a coin collector and "amateur photographer". He and his wife would also enjoy traveling, visiting AfricaEurope as well as other states outside of Texas.
   In April 1963 Clary stepped down as Mayor, bringing to a close a mayoralty that had extended for almost 50 years. He continued with his banking interests until his retirement as bank president in February 1965. Uncas Norvell Clary died at a McKinney, Texas hospital on May 16, 1972 at age 91. He was survived by his second wife Vera and was later interred at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Rhea Mills, Texas.

Clary's obituary from the May 17, 1972 Denton Record Chronicle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Estial Chapman Keister (1870-1955)

Estial C. Keister, from the 1930 Nebraska Blue Book.

  One term Nebraska state representative Estial Chapman Keister suffered the indignity of having his name incorrectly given as "Edward C. Keister" under his portrait in the 1930-31 Nebraska Blue Book. Despite this mistake, his brief biography in the latter portion of said book gives the correct spelling of his name, and these few brief lines remain one of the few sources of information on his life.
   Born and raised in Montgomery County, Virginia, Estial C. Keister's birth occurred in the town of Blacksburg on December 3 of either 1870 or 1871, being the son of John Henry and Nancy Heavner Keister. The first fifteen years of his life were spent in the state of his birth and in 1886 removed to Nebraska with his family. They settled in Richardson County, where Estial attended the "Stella High School, the Western Normal, and the Lincoln normal college."
  On  December 5, 1894 Keister married in Auburn, Nebraska to Lola Verdie Gilliland (1871-1955). The couple were married for over sixty years and were the parents of three childrenRobert Overton (1900-1954), Joseph Chapman (1903-1983) and Don DeForest (1908-1986).
   The majority of Estial C. Keister's life was spent in the private sector, as he was a farmer in Auburn for nearly all of his life. He had earlier taught school for a few years and during the First World War was described as being "active in all loan drives." In addition to farming in Auburn Keister is listed as being a district secretary for the Nemaha County Drainage District #3 beginning in the late 1910s.
  Prior to his election to the legislature, Keister's only foray into public office was his service on the local school board and the drainage board. Elected as one of Nemaha County's representatives to the Nebraska Bicameral Legislature in 1928, Keister served during the 1929-31 session and at the conclusion of his term returned to Auburn, where he resided until his death at age 83 on January 17, 1955. Lola Gilliland Keister survived her husband by only ten days, dying on January 27, 1955, also at age 83. Both were interred at the Bedford Cemetery in Howe, Nebraska. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tolliver Cleveland Callison Sr. (1884-1966)

North Carolina Attorney General Tolliver Cleveland Callison.

  The following write-up takes us to Edgefield County, South Carolina and one Tolliver Cleveland Callison, whose name I located several years ago via the Who Was Who In America Volume IV, 1961-1968. A practicing attorney for over five decades, Callison served a decade as city solicitor for South Carolina's 11th judicial circuit and in 1951 began a eight-year stint as Attorney General of South Carolina. 
   The son of former state legislator Preston Brooks Callison and the former Mattie Ella White, Tolliver Cleveland Callison was born in Callison, Edgefield County, South Carolina on July 17, 1884. Bestowed the names "Tolliver Cleveland" upon his birth, Callison would refrain from using his first and middle names during his career in public service, opting instead to use the initials "T.C. Callison." A graduate of the University of South Carolina's Law School in the class of 1909, Callison joined the law firm of Thurmond and Timmerman in 1912, the senior partner of that firm being John William Thurmond (1862-1934), father of long-time U.S. Senator and South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond (1902-2003). 
   "T.C." Callison married on December 17, 1913 to Margaret Reel (1888-1960), with whom he would have five children: Ruby (1914-2013), Tolliver Jr. (1916-1994), Helen Rawl (1919-2006), Jack Reel (1920-2005) and Preston Harvey Callison (born 1923). Of these children Preston Harvey would follow his father into public life, serving two terms as Lexington County's representative to the South Carolina General Assembly from 1965-66 and 1969-70.
   From 1912-1920 Callison was affiliated with the Thurmond and Timmerman law firm and in 1921 entered into service as Solicitor for South Carolina's 11th judicial circuit. He would serve in this capacity for sixteen years, being defeated for reelection in 1937 by Jeff D. Smith. Three years following his defeat Callison was tapped to serve as assistant attorney general of South Carolina, holding that post under Attorney General John McDaniel.
   In 1951 John McDaniel retired after serving twenty-six years as Attorney General and shortly thereafter T.C. Callison was elected to succeed him. He would be reelected as attorney general in 1954 and left office in 1959. He held the chairmanship of the Southern Conference of Attorney Generals in 1954 and was also active in other aspects of South Carolina public life, being a former President of the Bank of Lexington, South Carolina (1948-1965) and past president of the South Carolina State Board of Public Welfare, serving in that capacity until his death.
  Widowed in 1960, Tolliver Cleveland Callison died on March 17, 1966 at age 81. He was survived by all of his children and was buried at the East View Cemetery in Edgefield, South Carolina, the same resting place as that of his wife.

A T.C. Callison campaign notice from the Aiken Standard and Review.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Culbertson Jones Smith (1850-1930)

Portrait from "Ohio Legislative History, 1913-1917".

   Four-term Ohio state representative Culbertson Jones Smith's career in public service began in the 1880s when he entered into the office of Prosecuting Attorney of Butler County. After serving a decade in that post he won election to the Ohio General Assembly, and in the twilight of his life served two terms as Mayor of his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio.
   A lifelong resident of Butler County, Culbertson Jones "Culla" Smith was born in Wayne township in that county on February 25, 1850, being the son of John Culbertson and Elizabeth Jones Smith. His education occurred in the county of his birth and after reaching age sixteen began teaching school, earning enough income to enroll at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1868.
  Graduating in the class of 1870, Smith turned his attention to the law, and after a period of study under local judge Alexander F. Hume was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1876. Smith had married two years previously in June 1874 to Christianna Kindred (1852-1930), who had one son, George William Kindred (1869-1944) from a previous marriage. 
   From 1876 onward Smith would practice law in Hamilton and made his first run for elected office in 1882 when he was a candidate in that year's primary for Prosecuting Attorney of Butler County. He was unsuccessful in his bid and would suffer two further losses for that office, finally winning election to that office in 1887. He would serve a total of ten years as prosecuting attorney, and his time in that post received prominent mention in the 1905 Centennial History of Butler County, which noted that:
"Mr. Smith has brought to this office superior ability and honest, prompt, and efficient management of the affairs coming before him in his official capacity. His administration is referred to, both in public and private, as clean, able and honorable."
  Following his terms as county prosecutor Smith returned to private practice and in November 1910 was elected as Butler County's representative to the Ohio General Assembly. Serving during the 1911-13 session, Smith was a member of the house committees on the Girl's Industrial School, the Judiciary, and Taxation and Revenues. He would win re-election to the assembly in 1912 (with no opposition) and in the 1913-15 term chaired the committee on the Library; also serving on the Banks and Banking, Benevolent and Penal Institutions, and the Judiciary.

                               Culbertson J. Smith, from the Manual of Legislative Practice, 1913-14.

   In November 1914 Smith won his third term in the assembly and two years later was awarded a fourth term by his fellow Butler County citizens. He would serve as a member of the committees on Agriculture, Appropriations and Finance, Privileges and Elections and held the chairmanship of the Military Affairs committee.
   Towards the conclusion of his fourth term in the legislature, Smith was elected as the Mayor of Hamilton, Ohio in November 1917. His election to that office came about due to the "combined votes of the Democrats and Republicans of the city, thus defeating the candidate of the Socialist party which had been in control of the city."  Smith would be reelected as mayor of Hamilton in 1919, and at the conclusion of his term retired from political life to resume the practice of law, continuing active practice until a week before his death.
   Several days prior to his death Smith developed a scratch on his face and afterward took ill, with an infection called erysipelas setting in. Further medical complications developed and on December 16, 1930 Smith died at age 80. His wife Christianna had preceded him in death several months prior and both were interred at the Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton.

                                                       Culbertson Smith during his last term in the legislature.

Smith's obituary from the December 17th 1930 edition of the Hamilton Daily Times.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Enloe Vassallo Vernor (1879-1944)

Judge Vernor, from "Oklahomans and Their State", published 1919.

   A leading figure in Oklahoma judicial circles in the early part of the 20th century, Enloe Vassallo Vernor parlayed a successful career as an attorney into a near three-decade tenure on the bench, serving several years as Muskogee County judge and in 1922 entered into the office of District Court judge for Oklahoma's third judicial district. An Illinoisan by birth, Enloe V. Vernor's birth occurred in the town of Elkhorn on November 24, 1879, being the eldest of three sons born to Richard Enloe and Mary Cully Vernor. His unusual first and middle names extend from "Enloe" being his father's middle name and "Vassallo" being a name given to him courtesy of his grandmother, in remembrance of an "Italian orphan girl she had reared and loved."
   Enloe Vernor's early education occurred in Nashville, Illinois, and would experience his first taste of public service in that city, serving as city clerk for a time. Vernor also dabbled in journalism during his time in Nashville, being the editor of a local newspaper, the Nashville Democrat
   A graduate of St. Louis' Washington University in the class of 1904, Vernor married in St. Louis in September 1905 to Margaret Woodside, with whom he would have two daughters, Frances Marian (birth-date unknown) and Margaret Claire (1911-2004). Shortly after his marriage, Vernor relocated to Muskogee County, Oklahoma, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. He would establish a law practice in Muskogee and continued in that profession until 1916 when he was elected as Muskogee County judge. Vernor's candidacy for that office received press in the Muskogee Daily Times, which exclaimed "A Full Grown Man For A Man's Job" in touting Vernor's experience as an attorney. As the Daily Times relates:
"We offer the Democratic voters a candidate for County judge who has been honest, honorable and upright in all his professional and business transactions; for twelve years he has been a capable lawyer; he is fitted temperamentally and with the best of qualifications for the office; one who has the highest reputation and standing in this community and in whom the people can safely trust in the duties of this important office."
                                      Judge Vernor, from the July 31,1916 edition of the Muskogee Daily Times.

    Vernor would serve six years as county judge, being returned to that office in the elections of 1918 and 1920. His tenure as county judge was highlighted in the 1922 history of "Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma", which notes that he had:
"A wider jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases than the judge of the city court. He has all the jurisdiction of a committing magistrate in felony cases, original jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases and jurisdiction in civil cases in which not more that $1,000 is involved."
  In 1922 Enloe Vernor was elected to the State District court from Oklahoma's third judicial district of Muskogee, and two years later ran an unsuccessful candidacy for the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, garnering 4, 157 votes to his opponent's 8, 016. Vernor served on the district court until his retirement at age 63 in 1942. Vernor's retirement from public life lasted less than two years, as he died on March 25, 1944 in Muskogee. His mother, wife and two daughters survived him and he was interred at the Memorial Park Cemetery, also located in Muskogee.

Enloe Vernor, from the Sallisaw Democrat American, June 14, 1934.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vivus Wright Dorwin (1832-1904), Vivus Wood Smith (1804-1881)

Vivus W. Dorwin, from the History of Buffalo and Pepin Counties, Vol. 2, 1919.

     Four-term Wisconsin state assemblyman Vivus Wright Dorwin was a transplant to Durand, Wisconsin from Jefferson County, New York, coincidentally enough the same county that Delatus Miles Aspinwall (profiled a few days ago) resided in before removing to "America's Dairyland". While both of these oddly named Wisconsin transplants made a name for themselves in their respective counties, Mr. Dorwin's has proven to be a bit more prominent than the man who preceded him here, as he erected the first grist mill in Durand and was a Civil War veteran, cheese factory operator and banker.
   Born in Champion, New York on January 15, 1832, Vivus W. Dorwin was one of three sons born to William and Elizabeth Wright Dorwin. He would attend schools local to Jefferson County area and prior to his removal to Pepin County, Wisconsin had been a farmer in his native town. Dorwin married to Helen Marriett Van Hosen (died 1911) in March of 1854 and would have a total of ten children: William V. (?--?), Helen I. (?--?), Harriett M. (?--?), Marcellus (1862-1924), John (?--?), Lillian (?--?), Edward (?--?), Laura (?--?), Mary (died 1906) and Roscoe (died 1897). 
   Soon after their wedding Dorwin and his wife removed from Jefferson County to Wisconsin, first settling in Adams County. They resided here for a short time and around 1855 settled in Durand township in Pepin County. A short while after his arrival he undertook the first steps in erecting a grist-mill, purchasing mill machinery from Milwaukee and had it shipped via ox-cart to Pepin County. Completion of the mill occurred in mid 1857 and several years later Dorwin added a wool carding mill to the already existing grist-mill.
   In 1862 Dorwin began a year-long stint in the Union Army, serving as a captain in Co. G of Wisconsin's 25th Volunteer Infantry. The regiment would be deployed to combat hostile Indians in frontier Minnesota and would resign his commission in 1863 due to being afflicted with fever. Following his military service, Dorwin returned to Pepin County and recommenced with his business activities, purchasing a dairy farm in 1869 and three years later built a cheese factory near the previously mentioned mill(s). 
   Vivus W.Dorwin first entered into political life in Pepin County in the late 1860s when he began service as chairman of the board of Durand Township, continuing in this role for nearly two decades. In November 1876 he was elected to his first term in the Wisconsin General Assembly, defeating Republican nominee Harvey Brown, 985 votes to 744. In the 1877 session, Dorwin held a seat on the house committee on Printing. In November 1877 he was re-elected to the assembly, defeating Independent Republican candidate George W. Gilkey by a vote of 696 to 452.  
  Dorwin's service in the 1878 session saw him sit on the committee on Federal Relations, and in the 1884 election year was returned to the legislature for a third term, being named to the committees on the Militia and Public Improvements for the 1885 session. The year 1888 saw Dorwin win election to a fourth term in the assembly, defeating his Republican opponent P.J. Bryan by a vote of 759 to 611. In the session of 1889 Dorwin was a member of the committees on State Affairs and at the close of the term returned to Pepin County. 
   In March 1904 Vivus Dorwin and his wife celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and just a few months following that milestone Dorwin died at age 72 on September 27, 1904. His wife Helen would survive him by several years, dying in 1911. Both were interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Durand, Wisconsin. Public service would continue in the Dorwin family when Marcellus Dorwin (Vivus' son) was elected to represent Buffalo and Pepin County in the Wisconsin Assembly in 1924.

From the "History of Onondaga County, New York", 1878.

   Distinguished Syracuse, New York resident Vivus Wood Smith was a prominent figure in the early years of the Republican Party in New York state, and could count among his friends William H. Seward ( U.S. Senator, Governor and Secretary of State), Horace Greeley and political boss Thurlow Weed. A past county clerk for Onondaga County, Smith attained further distinction as a newspaper publisher and editor, and in 1860 was selected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention held in Baltimore.
  A native of Massachusetts, Vivus Smith was born Berkshire County in that state on January 27, 1804, a son of Silas (1779-1825) and Eunice Bagg Smith (1782-1856). His formative years were spent in Lanesborough (the town of his birth), farming and studying law there. He relocated to Onondaga County, New York in 1827 and soon after his arrival purchased the Onondaga Journal. He was affiliated with this paper until 1829 when he removed to Syracuse, and here would start up another paper, the Onondaga Standard.
  In 1837 Smith underwent a change in his political leanings, switching allegiance to the Whig party (having previously been a Democrat.) In the year following his switch, Smith established the Whig-leaning Western State Journal, a paper that would later undergo a name change to the Syracuse Journal. In 1841 Smith left Syracuse for Ohio, and after resettling in Columbus recommenced with his publishing activities, founding another Whig-based paper called the Ohio State Journal.
  Smith's time in Ohio proved to be short-lived, as he returned to Syracuse in the mid-1840s. In 1846 he was elected as Onondaga County clerk and after serving three years in that post entered upon duties as Superintendent of the Onondaga Salt Springs, being appointed to that post in 1855 by then Governor Myron Holley Clark. Smith served ten years as superintendent and in 1860 was part of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention in Baltimore, where Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency.
   In his later years, Vivus Smith continued to be an active public official, serving for a time as a state canal appraiser.  He died on February 7, 1881 and was survived by his second wife Theodora Morey (whom he had married in 1839), as well as four children: Carroll Earl (1832-1904), Fillmore Morey (1843-1919), Seward Valentine (1846-1905) and Florence (1848-1922). Smith and his entire family are interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse.

                                                   From the DeRuyter New Era, February 7, 1881.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Delatus Miles Aspinwall (1810-1888)

Portrait courtesy of

   A Vermonter by birth, Delatus Miles Aspinwall resided in several different states during a life that took him from humble beginnings in the Green Mountain state to the halls of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Following his one term in the assembly Aspinwall removed to Adair County, Iowa, dying there in 1888.
   Born in Vermont (sources state either Pawlet or Bennington) on August 9, 1810, Delatus M. Aspinwall was the son of Salmon (1783-1856) and Mary Montague Aspinwall (1784-1850). Aspinwall and his family resided in Vermont until about 1817, whereafter they removed to Jefferson County, New York. Here Delatus would attend the "common schools" as well as engaging in farm work. He would later be employed as a mechanic and in January 1840 married to Ms. Lovina Araminda Bates (1810-1884), with whom he would have ten children: Emma Morrison (1840-1923), Mary (1842-1932), Joel Adonijah (1845-1918), William H. (1845-1916), Ellen (1850-1926), Miles Delatus (1852-1872), David Montague (1855-1917), Ashley (1857-1908), Lovina A. 1859-1934) and Lillian M. (1861-1930).
   Six years following his marriage Aspinwall and his family left New York and established roots in the Jefferson County, Wisconsin town of Farmington. After purchasing "forty acres of government land", Aspinwall began to build his own farm in 1852, and over a decade later was the owner of 255 acres of farmland, devoted to the raising of both cattle and horses.
   Despite having held no previous elected office, Aspinwall won election to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1856. Representing Jefferson County's 1st district, Aspinwall's one term in the assembly commenced in January 1857 and during that session served on the house committees on Charitable and Religious Societies and Printing.  At the conclusion of his term Aspinwall returned to Farmington and for many years afterward was an active member of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society, serving as both its Vice-President and as a member of its executive committee. 
  Widowed in February 1884, Delatus Aspinwall removed from Wisconsin to Adair County, Iowa a short while after his wife's death. Settling in the town of Fontenelle, he resided here for the remainder of his life, dying on May 5, 1888. The Aspinwall Geneology of 1901 notes that Delatus had remarried at some point prior to his death but makes no mention of his second wife's name. His burial occurred at the Fontanelle Cemetery in Fontenelle, Iowa, and, in an unusual tidbit, the gravestone carver lists Aspinwall as having died on his 78th birthday (see link for photograph.) This looks to be an error on the part of the engraver, as all the sources I've found regarding Aspinwall give August 9th as his correct date of birth.

From the Jefferson County, NY Journal, June 12, 1888.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wittich Chiles DuBose (1881-1929)

Portrait courtesy of "Mineola and its Mayors", published 1976.

    Several years after the conclusion of mayor Garrone Stardi Northcutt's term, the city of Mineola, Texas elected another peculiarly named man as its mayor, one Wittich Chiles DuBose. The son of Methodist minister Charles Betts DuBose, Wittich Chiles "Witt" Dubose was born in Pensacola, Florida on August 20, 1881. Left fatherless at an early age due to his father's death in a yellow fever outbreak, Wittich DuBose spent a portion of his early life in Alabama, having been sent there by his father to lessen the chance of exposure to yellow fever. The young man would experience further tragedy with the death of his mother Eugenia and following her passing was sent to live with relatives in Mineola, Texas.
   DuBose would attend schools local to Mineola and later studied at Draughn's Business College, located in Dallas, Texas. He married in 1906 to Mamie Chappell and later had one son, Wittich "Witt" Chappell DuBose (1908-1993). After concluding his studies at the Draughn Business College DuBose became engaged in the used furniture business in Mineola, and would later partner with J.W. Cage. In addition to furniture sales, DuBose and Page added funeral supplies to their business, and DuBose himself would attend the Dallas School of Embalming and Funeral Directing
   Wittich DuBose continued to operate his furniture and undertaking business in Mineola well into the 1920s and also served as the Vice-President of the Texas Organization of Funeral Directors. The 1976 history of "Mineola and its Mayors" also relates that prior to 1918 DuBose's company transitioned to a motorized hearse, having previously used a horse-drawn coach for funerals.
  In addition to his business DuBose also gained prominence as Mineola's fire chief, serving in that position for several years. In August 1924 he took office as Mayor of Mineola and during his two terms in office, a number of improvements were made to the cities' infrastructure, including the renovation of the local sewerage disposal plant in 1926. In the following year work began on a plan to supply Mineola with natural gas, and by late 1927 the city's homes had been supplied with gas lines, with service taking effect in November of that year.

Wittich C. DuBose during his time as mayor, from "Mineola and its Mayors".

   DuBose's second term concluded in 1928 and for the remainder of his life maintained activity in several fraternal organizations, including the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, and the Lions and Elks Clubs. In early November 1929, the former mayor was afflicted with appendicitis and was rushed to a Dallas sanitarium to undergo an operation. DuBose died shortly after the operation on November 9, 1929. Just forty-eight years of age at the time of his death, Dubose was returned to Mineola for burial at the Mineola City Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Mamie and son Witt, who died in 1973 and 1993 respectively.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Garrone Stardi Northcutt (1888-1969)

From "Mineola and its Mayors", published 1976.

    The city of Mineola, Texas has elected two oddly named men as mayor during its century-plus history, and the first of those men, Garrone Stardi Northcutt, is profiled today. Northcutt served one term as mayor of Mineola in the early 1910s and later removed to Sacramento County, California, dying there in 1969, shortly before his 81st birthday. Born in Longview, Texas on March 5, 1888, Garrone Stardi Northcutt was the son of Jeremiah Elijah (1860-1896) and Minnie Madeline Lindsay Northcutt(1867-1930). Northcutt's primary education occurred in the public school system of Longview and was also a student at the University of Texas at Austin
   Following the completion of his schooling, Northcutt dabbled in advertising and in 1912 opened a movie house in Mineola. He would be affiliated with its operation until 1914 when it was sold to the Hooks family, who later renamed it the "Star Theater". 1914 proved to be an important year for Northcutt, as he married in January of that year to Clara Lee Graham (1892-1932). The couple would become parents to five children: Evelyn Northcutt Hustmyre (1914-2011), Jerre Everett (1923-1942), Ermanie (birthdate unknown), Robert Graham (birth-date unknown) and Ann Northcutt Ferguson (1926-1998).
  In April 1914 the twenty-six-year-old Northcutt took office as Mayor of Mineola. Having had no previous experience in elected office, Northcutt's one term saw a number of civic improvements made to the city, including that of new water mains being purchased from the Mineola Ice, Light and Water Company. The city also purchased a pump and engine from the same company, with Mayor Northcutt having "personally supervised the construction of a building to enclose the equipment."
   Late in Northcutt's administration, the city of Mineola began work on a new sewer system (with work being completed during his successor's administration), and after leaving office in 1916 removed with his family to Dallas. Northcutt would later relocate to Sacramento County, California in the early 1930s where Northcutt was employed as a salesman. Widowed in 1932, Northcutt survived his wife by nearly 40 years, dying in Carmichael, California on February 18, 1969. He was later buried at the Sacramento Lawn Memorial Cemetery.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Inzer Bass Wyatt Jr. (1907-1990)

Inzer B. Wyatt, from the 1980 "Justices and Judges of the United States Courts".

    A native son of Alabama, strangely named jurist Inzer Bass Wyatt logged nearly three decades of service as a federal judge, being appointed to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York in 1962. Born in Huntsville on March 29, 1907, Inzer B. Wyatt was the son of Inzer Bass and Katheryne Milligan Wyatt. Inheriting his unusual name from his father, Inzer Wyatt's early education occurred in the state of his birth and in the early 1920s enrolled at the University of Alabama. He would earn his A.B. degree in 1927 and in 1930 graduated from the Harvard Law School.
   Inzer Wyatt married in the early 1930s to Hope Johnston (1906-2004), to whom he was wed for nearly sixty years. The couple would remain childless through their entire marriage and by 1940 had removed from Alabama to New York. As a resident of Manhattan, Wyatt joined the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell and in 1940 was admitted as a partner. He remained with this firm until 1942 when he joined in the ongoing war effort, becoming a
a Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. From 1944-45 he served as a special security representative in the China -Burma-India theater and would leave the army in 1946, having attained the rank of Colonel.
   Following his return stateside Wyatt rejoined the firm of Sullivan and Cromwell but would leave once again in 1953 to accept the position of special assistant in the U.S. Attorney General's office, taking part in cases centered upon conscientious objectors. He remained in this post until 1960, and two years later was appointed by then-President John F. Kennedy as U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. After being confirmed Wyatt began a 28-year tenure on the bench and would assume senior status as a judge after turning 70 in 1977.
   During his lengthy career on the bench, Wyatt oversaw the 1969 trial of lawyer Roy Cohn (1929-1984), best known as U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel during the early 1950s. Cohn, on trial for alleged bribery, would be acquitted along with two others by Judge Wyatt, who gained additional press in 1970 when he approved "an $82.5 million dollar offering by five major drug companies" who had been sued by thousands of customers that had leveled charges of high price fixing against them. 
   Inzer Wyatt's 28-year judgeship was terminated by his death at age 82 in Manhattan. Following his passing Wyatt was returned to his birth state of Alabama, being buried at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville. Hope Johnston Wyatt was also interred at this cemetery following her death in 2004 at age 98.