Monday, November 28, 2016

Oda Alson Mallow (1887-1970), Oda Oliver Franklin (1896-1950)

From the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1941-42.

   Our stay in Missouri continues with another odd named state representative, Oda Alson Mallow of Maries County. Mallow was a lifelong Missourian, being born in Gasconade County on August 16, 1887, the son of Enoch and Malinda Stump Mallow. He would attend schools local to Gasconade County and in 1915 married to Lucy Caroline Davis (1889-1960), with whom he had five children: Vada (died 2006), Alson, Carla, Geraldine and Verl.
   The majority of Oda Mallow's life was spent as a farmer in Maries County, and several sources mentioning him denote his work as a "minster of the Church of Christ" in the city of Belle. Elected to represent Maries County in the Missouri state house in 1940, Mallow is remarked as having been the "first Republican representative from Maries County" in its history. 
  Mallow served one term in the house (the 1941-43 session) and was a member of the committees on Eleemosynary Institutions, Penal Institutions, Municipal Corporations, Roads and Highways, Social Security and Old Age Assistance, and the State University. Widowed in 1960, Mallow himself died at age 83 on October 10, 1970 and was later interred alongside his wife at the Liberty Cemetery in Belle, Missouri

Portrait from the Texas Bar Journal, Volume 13, Issue 7, 1950.

   An attorney based in Wilbarger County, Texas, Oda Oliver Franklin had fleeting political involvement in the late 1920s when he was elected as County Attorney for Wilbarger County, serving for one term. Born on October 8, 1896 in Childress, Texas, Oda O. Franklin was the son of James Mills and Amanda Franklin. Besides attending schools local to the state of his birth Franklin would also study at the Valparaiso University and the University of Colorado.
  In 1917 Franklin put his studies on hold to serve in the First World War, enlisting in the 77th Balloon Company. He continued to serve with that unit until his discharge in 1919, and afterwards returned to the United States to resume his law studies. Franklin worked as a court reporter for a time and after being admitted to the Texas bar in 1926 established his law practice in the city of Vernon. Just a few months after being admitted to practice Franklin announced his candidacy for County Attorney of Wilbarger County, and was elected that November.
  Franklin would serve one two year term as County Attorney and for the remainder of his life alternated between private practice and work as a court reporter. Oda O. Franklin died on February 23, 1950 due to accidental drowning at Lake Narsworthy in San Angelo, Texas. Having gone to the lake on a fishing trip, Franklin disappeared and was later found to have drowned, his body being recovered eight days following the accident. He was survived by his wife Susan, whom he had wed in 1921.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Marple Scott Wyckoff (1907-1995)

Portrait from the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1961-62.

    As November draws to a close we return to the "Show Me State" to highlight the political exploits of a man named Marple...Marple Scott Wyckoff! A citizen of prominent standing in Putnam County, Missouri, Wyckoff is another in long line of oddly named state representatives from Missouri, a number of whom (twenty or so at last count) have had profiles here.
   A lifelong resident of Putnam County, Marple Scott Wyckoff was born on July 12, 1907, the son of Edward L. and Anna M. Wyckoff. He studied in schools local to Putnam County as well as the Unionville High School. A farmer for a good majority of his life, Wyckoff first entered politics in the mid 1930s when he began service as an assessor for Lincoln township, serving in that post for an indeterminate length of time. In 1942 he won election as Putnam County Clerk and would hold that office for twelve years.
   Marple S. Wyckoff married in Unionville, Missouri on April 19, 1947 to Ruth Harrington (1916-1996). The couple were wed for nearly five decades and later had three children, Charles Lee, Patricia Kay and Dixie Ann. In 1954 Wyckoff announced his candidacy for the Missouri State House of Representatives and in November of that year was elected unopposed, garnering 1,970 votes. Taking his seat at the start of the 1955-56 session, Wyckoff sat on the following committees during his first term: Elections, Roads and Highways, Savings and Loan, Seeds and Grain and Ways and Means.

Wyckoff as he appeared in the 1955-56 Missouri State Manual.

   In all Wyckoff would represent Putnam County in the Missouri legislature for five terms (1955-1965) and ran unopposed in his reelection bids in 1956, 1958 and 1960. During his final term in the house Wyckoff held a seat on the committees on Agriculture, Roads and Highways, Unemployment, Utilities and Ways and Means. He was an unsuccessful candidate for a sixth term in August 1964, losing out in that year's Republican primary to Leslie C. Shelton, who bested him by over 250 votes. 
  Little could be found on Marple Wyckoff's life following his leaving the legislature. He died in Putnam County on December 14, 1995 at age 88 and was survived by his wife Ruth, who died in February of the following year at age 79. A burial location for both Wyckoff and his wife remains unknown at this time. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Devoe Pell Hodson (1856-1932)

Portrait from the 1916 New York Red Book.

   After a near month long break (in which there was ample time to process the results of the recent presidential election), the Strangest Names In American Political History returns with a post highlighting Buffalo, New York jurist Devoe Pell Hodson, who would go on to further political prominence as a New York State Public Service Commissioner (beginning service in 1913) and as an unsuccessful candidate for state Attorney General.
   Although a resident of distinction in Erie County for many years, Hodson was a native of Tompkins County, New York, being born in Ithaca on March 23, 1856. The son of Horatio and Harriet Ward Pell Hodson, Devoe Pell Hodson attended school in the city of his birth and also at the Ithaca Academy. He would later enroll at Cornell University, attending from 1873-1874. In the late 1870s he began reading law in the offices of Samuel Holliday and Marcus Lyon of Ithaca and in 1879 was admitted to the New York bar at Saratoga Springs. 
   Soon after his admittance Hodson returned to Ithaca to establish his law practice, which he would continue to operate for several years. He married in December 1880 to Mariette Wood (died 1937), a native of Painted Post, New York. The couple would remain childless through the entirety of their marriage. Hodson entered political life for the first time in 1882 when he began a year long stint as clerk of the Tompkins County Board of Supervisors. In 1887 he entered the publishing field, purchasing an interest in the Ithaca Republican newspaper. His connection to that paper later led him to spend a brief period in California, where he and a partner established the Morning Telegram in San Diego. 
   After several months of residence in California Hodson returned to Ithaca, but his stay proved to be short lived. Hodson would remove to Buffalo in February 1889 and returned to practicing law, operating a solo practice until 1893, when he joined with George B. Webster in the firm of Hodson and Webster.
  Following his relocation to New York's "Queen City" it didn't take long for Hodson to become active in Erie County public life. Within a short period of his resettlement he was named as a non-resident corporation counsel for Niagara Falls, NY and was later talked of as a potential candidate for Buffalo city attorney and delegate to the 1900 New York Constitutional Convention. Hodson became a member of the Buffalo Board of School Examiners in 1900 and served a term of three years, later refusing to be a candidate for renomination. 
  In 1905 Devoe Hodson launched his candidacy for Judge of the Municipal Court of Buffalo and was elected in the fall of that year. Taking his seat at the start of the new year, Hodson was selected as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1912 and served on the bench until his retirement in December 1913. Hodson's retirement was met with a profound show of respect, with the Penn Yan Democrat later reporting that:
"More than 150 lawyers, headed by Adelbert Moot, former president of the Stae Bar Association, and Carlton E. Ladd, then president of the Erie County Bar Association, crowded into his courtroom. Speeches were made declaring Judge Hodson an able lawyer, a good judge and an honest man. His loss from the bench was deplored by many."
Portrait from the Buffalo Evening News, February 7, 1913.

  Following his early retirement from the bench Hodson returned to practicing law for a short period, but was called to public service once again in February 1913 when he was appointed by Governor William Sulzer to the New York State Public Service Commission. Hodson's fellow lawyers and Buffalonians lauded this appointment, making light of Hodson's fair mindedness and judicial temperament while on the municipal court. Amongst the contemporaries who weighed in on Hodson's appointment was former Erie County District Attorney Edward E. Coatsworth, who noted that:
"The appointment of Judge Hodgson should be gratifying to all citizens regardless of politics, who desire to see the public service commission render valuable service to the people. It should be especially gratifying to the people of Buffalo, a city so vitally interested in the proper adjustment of important problems that come under the jurisdiction of the commission."
   Hodson's time on the Public Service Commission extended four years (1913-1917), during which time he represented the state's 2nd district. Hodson resigned his seat in 1917 and was later succeeded by John Barhite, a former County Judge of Monroe County, New York. In the same year as his resignation Hodson became the Democratic nominee for New York State Attorney General, competing against Republican Merton Elmer Lewis (1861-1937), who had been acting attorney general since the resignation of Egburt E. Woodbury. Despite his status as an "eminent lawyer" and past service as a judge and commissioner, Hodson would place second on election day. While having a heavy lead early in the balloting, Hodson's vote count would later be usurped by Lewis, who bested him by a vote of 696, 969 to 541, 385.


From the New York Sun, August 8, 1917.

   After his defeat for Attorney General Hodson returned to his law practice, continuing with the firm of Hodson and Webster until his retirement. In 1923 Hodson and his wife removed to Yates County, New York, eventually settling in the town of Penn Yan. For a number of years afterward they owned a home on Lake Keuka, where he died on May 16, 1932 at age 75. Hodson was later cremated and his ashes interred in the Hodson family plot at the Ithaca City Cemetery. Curiously, no gravestone looks to have been carved for Hodson, as the Find-A-Grave page for him notes that he currently rests in an unmarked location in the Hodson family plot.