Menzus R. Bump, from the Spokane Spokesman Review, May 7, 1913.
The Wisconsin State Assembly has had several of its members profiled here over the past five years and that list of oddly named assemblymen grows ever larger with the addition of Menzus Raynard Bump, an outstandingly named resident of Dunn County. Earning a place here on the site due to his serving one term in the Wisconsin legislature, Bump later removed to Spokane, Washington, where he gained further distinction in that city's Masonic community.
A native of New York, Menzus Raynard Bump was born in Washington County on May 28, 1838. One of several children born to Charles W. (1803-1843) and Almira Ruth (Bullock) Bump (1807-1864), Menzus R. Bump looks to have received his unusual first and middle names in honor of Menzies Rayner (1770-1850), a prominent clergyman in the Universalist church who held pastorates in New York, Connecticut and Maine.
Menzus Bump received a "common school and academic education" in his native state and relocated to Dunn County, Wisconsin in 1856. Settling in the town of Mondovi, Bump signed on for service in the 25th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment in 1862 and would see action at the battles of Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Lookout Mountain. Following fighting at Chattanooga in 1863 he was promoted to first sergeant and later served under General William T. Sherman until being honorably discharged in June 1865.
Following his return to Wisconsin Bump entered the flour milling business, which he would continue in until his removal to Spokane, Washington around 1890. In 1868 he purchased a mill at Rock Falls, Wisconsin that he continued to operate until 1878, when it was washed away in a flood. A few months following its destruction a "new, superior mill" was established in its place, with The History of Northern Wisconsin describing it as having been:
"The best in all the county; patent rollers, purifiers, and all the latest mill machinery. Capacity a day is fifty barrels of flour, 350 bushels of feed."
In November 1868 Menzus R. Bump married to Elma A. Crocker (1843-1911), to whom he was wed for over forty years. The couple would later have four children: Maude Alice (1869-1916), Grace (born 1873), Bessie and Milan Raynard (1881-1924). Of these children, Milan Bump would gain prominence in the electrical industry, serving for a time as chief engineer of the Henry L, Doherty Co. of New York. He later gained further distinction as President of the National Electric Light Association, being named to that post in 1921.
Active in the political life of Rock Falls, Menzus Bump held a number of local offices and for three years served as chairman of the Board of Supervisors. In November 1875 he was elected as Dunn County's representative to the Wisconsin State Assembly and during the 1876 session served on the committees on Assessment and Collection of Taxes and the Militia. Bump's service in the state assembly lasted but one term and afterward returned to private life in Rock Falls. He briefly reemerged on the political scene in 1881 he was one of 47 petitioners that lobbied the assembly to pass an amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution that prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages.
After three decades of residence in Dunn County, Wisconsin, the Bump family relocated to Spokane, Washington in 1889. Following his removal, Menzus Bump dabbled in real estate and for over two decades was an active member of the Masonic order in Spokane, having joined the order early in his Wisconsin residency. A member of the Spokane Lodge No. 34 of Free and Accepted Masons, Bump also held memberships in the Electa chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Sedgwick Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Menzus R. Bump died of complications of pneumonia on May 6, 1913, shortly before his 75th birthday. He had been ill only a few days and expired at his home. His wife Elma had predeceased her husband two years prior and both were interred at the Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane following their deaths.
From the Spokane Spokesman Review, May 9, 1913.