Sunday, November 15, 2015

Faber Weissinger Kearse (1899-1943)

Portrait from "The State" Columbia, South Carolina, October 15, 1943.

  Despite his death at the age of just forty-four Bamberg, South Carolina native Faber Weissinger Kearse carved a notable career for himself as a lawyer and multi-term legislator, representing Bamberg County in the state house of representatives for four terms. He would also serve as Speaker pro tem of the house during the 1931-32 session of the legislature. The youngest of eight children born to Joseph Josiah (1850-1930) and Mildred Bamberg Kearse (1854-1949), Faber Weissinger Kearse was born in Olar, South Carolina on September 9, 1899.
   Faber Kearse would graduate from the Carlisle Military School at Bamberg in 1917 and later attended the Citadel in Charleston. A veteran of the First World War, Kearse resumed his studies following his military service, graduating from the Wofford College in the class of 1920. Deciding to pursue a career in law, Kearse studied at the University of South Carolina's law school, receiving his bachelor of laws degree in the class of 1924. Shortly after being admitted to practice Kearse relocated to Jacksonville, Florida and during his residency there "engaged in legal work". He would return to Bamberg shortly afterward and with his brother James Carlisle (a state senator) established the law firm of Kearse and Kearse. 
   Harboring political ambitions of his own, Faber W. Kearse first entered political life in South Carolina in 1922 when he took on the post of clerk of the judiciary committee in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He remained in that post until 1925 and two years later married in Bamberg to Ms. Marie Dantzler (1906-1974). The couple would later become parents to two sons, Faber Weissinger Jr. (1928-2001) and Olin Dantzler (1931-2004).

Portrait from the Garnet and Black Yearbook, 1924.

   In 1928 Faber Kearse was elected to his first term in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He took his seat at the start of the January 1929 session and won a second term in 1930. During the 1931-32 session, Kearse served as Speaker pro tem of the house, but failed to win a third consecutive term, being defeated by fellow Bamberg native John W. Crum. In September 1934 Kearse would regain his house seat, besting Crum in the vote count, 1,988 to 1,427. Two years later Kearse decided not to be a candidate for reelection, but returned to political life in 1938, when he was elected to a fourth term in the legislature.
   Active in other areas of South Carolina public life, Faber Kearse served as Bamberg County attorney for a time and was "a delegate to the state Democratic convention several times." Kearse was also a longstanding member of both the Lions Club and the American Legion, serving as the commander of the Bamberg County Legion Post until his death.
  Faber Weissinger Kearse died on October 14, 1943 at the Tri-County Hospital in Bamberg. He had celebrated his forty-fourth birthday just one month prior to his passing and was survived by his mother Mildred, wife Marie and two sons. Kearse was later interred at the South End Cemetery in Bamberg.

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