Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bismark Adair Steinhagen (1878-1946)

Portrait from the Bullseye, 1917.

   A former mayor of Beaumont, Texas, Bismark Adair Steinhagen was recognized as one of Jefferson County's established businessmen prior to his election, being both the secretary-manager of the Tyrell Rice Milling Co. and a primary figure in the movement to have a new city charter voted on for Beaumont. A lifelong Texas resident, Bismark Adair "Steinie" Steinhagen was born in the town of Navasota on August 19, 1878, the son of Henry Carl and Anna (Sobbe) Steinhagen.
   While little is known of Steinhagen's early life in Navasota, he removed to Beaumont in 1901 and for a time was affiliated with the Wilson Hardware Company in that city. Steinhagen would marry in Oklahoma on December 27, 1906 to Erilla Elinor Weeks (1878-1945). The couple were wed until Elinor's death in 1945 and had two children, Dale S. (1914-1916) and Robin Adair (1916-1999). 
    B.A. Steinhagen made his first foray into the rice industry when he joined the McFadden Rice Mill in the early 1900s. He continued with that company for several years and in 1912 was engaged as a speaker at a meeting of the Texas Welfare Commission on the use of rice by products (rice bran and rice straw), as livestock feed and for paper making. In 1915 Steinhagen, W.C. Tyrell and several other partners organized the Tyrell Rice Milling Co., of which Steinhagen would serve as secretary-manager. Following the construction of a plant with a "1,200 barrel capacity", Steinhagen's name grew to even more prominence in the milling and rice industry, as he would serve as the vice-president of the Associated Rice Millers of America in 1921, 1922 and 1923. Upon his election as mayor of Beaumont his business acumen received glowing praise in Volume 23 of the Rice Journal, which relates that
"It can truthfully be said that Steinhagen has taken an active part in every big undertaking that has been for the betterment of Beaumont, and at the same time has made a success of his own business and been an active leader in progressive movements to place the rice industry on a higher plane. He is a rice man, but a businessman with it, and has always held a place on the important committees of the Rice Millers Association because he was known not only as a man with ideas but a man who would get out and work and carry them out."
From the Rice Journal, Volume 23.

   While a leading figure in the rice milling industry in Beaumont, B.A. Steinhagen also held the post of president of the Greater Beaumont Association in the late 1910s, and in that capacity was a primary mover in seeing the adoption of a new city charter, one that would see Beaumont "governed by fifteen councilmen and a mayor and managed by a city manager." This association (along with a number of progressive Beaumont businessmen) would later back Steinhagen when he announced his candidacy for Mayor in February 1920
   Steinhagen's opponent that year was incumbent mayor Ernest John"E.J." Diffenbacher, who had been elected in 1918. On election day (February 23rd, 1920) it was Steinhagen who triumphed, besting Diffenbacher by a vote of 3,394 to 2,932.  Following his election Steinhagen promised a "business administration free from petty politics and prejudices" and also laid plans for the erection of a municipal auditorium and public library, at the cost of $250,000. 
  Steinhagen's mayorality saw him having to contend with substantial Ku Klux Klan activity in Beaumont. Promising to "get those cowards who hid behind masks", Steinhagen declared Klan members to be "as bad as Bolshevism" and along with several other prominent Beaumont citizens came out firmly in opposition to Klan activity. Steinhagen even launched an investigation into suspected Klan advocates holding city offices, and directed city manager George Roark to announce that
"All city employees would be required to sign an affidavit stating they were or had been members of the Klan."
   Despite his strong opposition to Klan activity and his popularity amongst the Beaumont citizenry, Steinhagen was defeated for mayor in 1924 by attorney J.A. Barnes, who, while being a non Klan member, had its backing over the course of the campaign.
   Following his mayoralty Steinhagen continued in the rice milling business, being the founder of the Steinhagen Rice Milling Co. in 1927. This company would later merge with the Comet Rice Co. in the late 1930s and by 1939 this merger had formed the Comet Mills Co., of which Bismark Steinhagen served as President. Steinhagen's later years saw him continue to be a leading figure in Beaumont, being acknowledged as a "pioneer in the development of the Sabine-Neches waterway improvements" and as president of the Lower Neches Valley Authority laid the groundwork for extensive waterway projects involving the Neches River basin
   Widowed in 1945, Bismark Adair Steinhagen died at age 67 on February 13, 1946. In the years following his death his name would continue to be prominent in the history of Beaumont and in 1967 became the namesake of the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, a part of the waterway project he had helped initiate in the years prior to his death. 


Portrait from the Rice Journal, Volume 23, 1920.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Montague Woolsey Ripley (1878-1943), Montague Tucker Moses (1850-1927), Montague Hakes (1858-1921)

From the 1931-32 Manual of the Michigan Legislature. 

   It isn't often that one stumbles across a political figure that shares his first name with the town in which he was born, but that is precisely the case with one term Michigan legislator Montague Woolsey Ripley, who was born in the town of Montague, Michigan on September 28, 1878. The son of druggist Lafayette G. and May (Brackley) Ripley, Montague W. Ripley graduated from the Montague high school in 1895 and continued his studies at the Albion College, graduating in the class of 1899. He married in Calhoun, Michigan in August 1903 to Katharine W. Webster. The couple were wed for forty years and had five children, Arthur, Lucille, Florence, Mary and Alice.
   Following his college graduation  Ripley entered into publishing, being the editor of the Whitehall Forum newspaper for a brief period. In the early 1900s he followed his father into the druggist business, joining him at a pharmacy in Montague. In 1904 Ripley entered into public service for the first time, being named as Montague's postmaster, an office he would continue to hold until 1916. He'd later hold a seat on the Montague board of education and was a member of the Montague Progressive Club and the local masonic chapter.
   In 1919 Ripley returned to the druggist trade, operating with his brother drug stores located in Montague and Whitehall, Michigan. Ripley continued along this route until 1931, when he became a Republican candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives. This special election had been occasioned by the death of Edward Skeels (1865-1931), a three term representative from Muskegon County's 2nd district. After winning the Republican nomination in March, Ripley went on to defeat Democrat T. Thomas Thatcher in the April election and took his seat in the legislature soon after.
    Montague W. Ripley's brief time as a representative saw him sit on the committees on Apportionment, Conservation, the State Normal College and the State Public School. Ripley's time in state government also saw him vote an emphatic "no" to Constitutional amendment No. 3 (also referred to as the Michigan Plan), a piece of legislation offered up by Wayne County that would increase its representation in the house from 22 legislators to 39. Ripley and a number of other legislators cried foul, with Ripley noting that 
"Increasing Wayne's representation in the House from 22 to 39, will give Wayne County a negative control in all legislation, and a positive control in all matters that requires a two-thirds vote in either house."
   Ripley was a candidate for reelection in 1932 but in November lost out to the man he had defeated the previous year, T. Thomas Thatcher. Ripley would run another unsuccessful candidacy in 1934 and in 1936 removed to Lansing, where he would accept a position in the state library department. He would also return to operating a pharmacy, and was acknowledged as one of the foremost historians on the history of the White Lake, Michigan area in the latter portion of his life. Ripley suffered a heart attack two weeks prior to his death and later had a stroke, dying at his home on August 30, 1943 at age 64. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred in Lansing.


Portrait from the History of the Bench and Bar of California, 1912.

   A resident of both Ohio and Washington, D.C., lawyer Montague Tucker Moses migrated west to California in the late 1870s, where he continued his practice. Moses earns a spot here on the site due to his 1902 candidacy for the California state senate, running as a Democrat. Born in Cincinnati, Oho on April 11, 1850, Montague Tucker Moses was the son of Simpson and Lizzie (Tucker) Moses. Young Montague would later reside in Washington, D.C. and received his education in the district schools.
   In the late 1860s Moses enrolled at George Washington University and graduated with his law degree in the class of 1872. He was admitted to the bar that same year and operated his practice in Washington until his removal to California in 1876. In the year following his resettlement he joined fellow attorney James Crittenden in the firm of Crittenden and Moses, which extended until 1882. For the next three years Moses practiced alone, and in 188 established a partnership with Charles A. Sumner, which would continue for sixteen years.
  Moses entered the political life of California in 1902 when he became the Democratic nominee for state senator from California's 22nd district. One of the three candidates running that year, Moses placed third in that contest, losing out to Republican nominee Hamilton Bauer by a vote of 2,883 to 818Active in the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization. Moses served that group as a Head Consul and also served as the editor of the group's "Pacific Woodmen" publication beginning in 1907
  Little information is available on Moses' life after 1907, excepting notice of his practicing law in San Francisco. He died on August 20, 1927 at age 77 and had been married with three children, Preston, Lillian and Montague Hudson.

Portrait from the Iowa Legislative database.

   Two term Iowa state representative and congressional candidate Montague Hakes is another "Montague" that found success in politics. A lifelong Iowan, Hakes was one of several children born to Giles Julian and Phoebe (Randall) Hakes, his birth occurring in Jones County on February 24, 1858. He received a common school education and enrolled at the State Agricultural College in Ames in the late 1870s. Following his graduation from that school's science department in 1880 Hakes spent four years employed in railroad construction, work that would take him to Idaho, Colorado and South Dakota.
   Montague Hakes married In December 1884 to Harriett "Hattie" Arnold (1861-1934). The couple were wed until Montague's death in 1921 and had four children, Byron Arnold (1886-1947), Karl Montague (1889-1951), Ledgard (Ledyard) (1894-1957) and Leland Paul (1897-1954). Shortly after his marriage Hakes joined his father in Laurens, Iowa and together established  G.J. Hakes and Son, a general store and poultry business. This firm continued on until 1890, when the elder Hakes sold off his interest in the business to another son, James, with the firm undergoing a name change to M. and J.R. Hakes
  Through the 1890s and early 1900s  the Hakes brothers saw their poultry business expand through numerous Iowa railway towns, and by 1900 the brothers had built along the Northwestern railroad a 
"Large establishment for the handling of eggs and the dressing of poultry and sheds that accommodate many thousands of live fowl." 
  The Hakes brother's success in poultry sales brought considerable revenue to Laurens, Iowa and Pocahontas County, making it "one of the most important centers of the poultry trade in Iowa". With his operations having nearly $200,000 dollars in "live and dressed" poultry, Montague Hakes entered into other areas of business, being a co-partner in a Laurens based coal and lumber firm, and had a financial stake in a lumber company in Washington and a fruit ranch in Colorado. 
   Montague Hakes made his first foray into the political life of Pocahontas County in 1885 when he was named U.S. Postmaster at Laurens. He would serve in that capacity until 1889 and in the following year began a five year stint on the Laurens city council. Hakes also made his first run for the Iowa House of Representatives during this time, being an unsuccessful candidate for the house in the 1891 election year. In 1903 he was again a candidate for the state legislature and was this time victorious, narrowly defeating Republican nominee F.C. Gilchrist by a vote of 1,591 to 1487
   Taking his seat at the start of the 1904-06 session, Hakes served on the committees on the Agricultural College, Ways and Means, Banks and Banking, Roads and Highways, Suppression of Intemperance and Senatorial districts. In the 1905 election year Hakes won a second term and during the 1906-08 term was named the committee on Claims. He was defeated for a third term in 1907 by James Stewart, 1,559 votes to 1,357.
   In 1908 Montague Hakes set his sights on a seat in Congress, announcing his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa's 10th district. One of four candidates running that year, Hakes placed second on election day, polling 17,256 votes to winning Republican Frank Plowman Wood's total of 29,608. Following his congressional loss Hakes continued to reside in Laurens with his family and died in that city on July 5, 1921 at age 63.  His wife Hattie survived him by thirteen years and following her death in 1934 was interred alongside him at the Laurens Cemetery.
   Political service would continue in the Hakes family in Frances Gilchrist Hakes (1897-1988), Montague Hakes' daughter-in-law. Frances Helsell Gilchrist was the daughter of former U.S. Representative Francis Gilchrist and married in 1922 to Ledgard (Ledyard) B. Hakes, Montague Hakes' third born son. The couple were wed until his death in 1957 andthree years later Frances Hakes was elected to the first of two terms in the Iowa state legislature from Pocahontas County, serving in the sessions of 1961-63 and 1963-65.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Aderial Hebard Case (1828-1908)

Portrait from the Topeka State Journal, December 8, 1908.

   One of a number of political figures who've had a photo featured on the site's Facebook page over the past several years, Aderial Hebard "Hib" Case was a leading lawyer in Topeka, Kansas early in its history, and for a brief period served as District Attorney for Kansas's 3rd judicial district. Case would practice law for well over forty years and became a prominent figure in the life of a rising young lawyer named Charles Curtis, later to serve as a U.S. Senator and Vice President of the United States under Herbert Hoover.
   A native of Pennsylvania, Aderial Hebard Case was born in the small borough of Troy,  the son of Elihu and Charlotte Palmer Case. While little information exists on his early life or education, Case reflected on his early life and upbringing in a six page letter in November 1902, entitled "A Dull Day's Confession":
"I was born December 19, 1828, of respectable Yankee parents in the hill country of Pennsylvania at a time when the snow covered the house ten feet deep, and at a place where no esculapius could come, to make my mother afraid. Reared on a farm, in a foundry, and in an upright, overshot saw mill, and educated by Dr. Blue in a log cabin and at a big log fire place, by my mother, who intended for me the pulpit in that church, whose whole creed is embraced in the text, 'Repent  and be baptized (not sprinkled) and wash away your sins.'"
  Upon reaching the age of twenty-one Case did what many young men only dream of doing....he joined the circus. Imbued with a case of wanderlust, Case began following around showman Dan Rice's "Greatest Show On Earth", selling "tartaric lemonade and cookies as big as a cart wheel, all for five cents." Case continued along this route for an indeterminate length of time, selling various pieces of confectionery and drinks. He would marry in 1854 to Helen Augusta Kiff (1836-1870), with whom he had one son, Daniel Hebard (1864-1946).
   After accumulating over $1,300 in savings, Case opted to leave the circus behind and entered into the general merchandising business, work that would take him to Chicago in 1856. After a short spell in that city he removed to Iowa, and following the economic panic of 1857 traveled to St. Louis, where he took work as a dishwasher and sweeper. He would first read law around this time and during his St. Louis residency Case frequented the local saloon and also made the acquaintance of future U.S. President Ulysses Grant, who was then working near St. Louis "hauling poles from his father in law's country place." Case later went to work grading what would become "the Frisco railroad", and upon completion of his duties set out for Kansas with his wife, traveling via horse and buggy and steamboat.
   Following a journey that took them through Kansas City, Leavenworth and Lawrence, Hib Case saw a bright future for himself in Topeka, then a burgeoning city of a few thousand residents. Here Case would establish his law practice in 1859, and continued in that profession until his death nearly five decades later. As a frontier lawyer who traveled widely throughout the state, business came slowly, but eventually Case built up a reputation as a solid attorney, one who would become known as one of the foremost criminal lawyers in Kansas. Case's skill in the courtroom and generosity was later attested to by fellow lawyer and longtime friend Capt. J.G. Waters, a man who had found himself against Case in the courtroom on several occasions. In a lengthy address memorializing his friend, Waters remarked that
"As a lawyer he was to be feared from the first onset to the last shot fired. If an opponent unwarily had its attention distracted, he was a lost man. In the heydey of his most vigorous career, his practice extended well over the state. The man in trouble hunted for Mr. Case. If he had had a particle of greed in his composition he would long ago have been a very wealthy man. He did not have it. His heart mellowed at any story or distress. He gave when he should have kept, and then to ease his conscience he forgot the transaction."
Portrait from the December 10, 1908 Topeka State Journal.

   "Hib" Case entered the political life of Kansas when he took on the post of District Attorney for Kansas' 3rd judicial district, a post he would hold until the following year.  Case later advanced to the posts of deputy U.S. District Attorney for Kansas and deputy internal revenue collector, holding the former post for four years. Case would also pass up opprtunities to further his political career, turning down judicial positions in both Kansas and Texas, relating that "I would not be judge, because I would not sentence any man to be hung or to life confinement."
   In 1879 Case took on the services of a rising young lawyer named Charles Curtis (1860-1936), who began working for him as a clerk. Under Case's tutelage, Curtis was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1881 and in that same year joined with him in practice. Their firm continued until 1884, when Curtis began an exemplary political career, one that would see him serve as a district attorney, U.S. Representative (1892-1907) and U.S. Senator from Kansas (1907-1928). In 1928 Curtis was elected as Vice-President of the United States on the Republican ticket with Herbert Hoover and served for one term, being defeated for reelection in 1932.
  Widowed in 1870, "Hib" Case remarried in 1872 to Lucia Ophelia Benton (1852-1925), to whom he was wed until his death. Case continued with his Topeka based practice until his death from a heart ailment on December 7, 1908, shortly before his eightieth birthday. He was survived by his wife and son and was interred at the Topeka Cemetery.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hopestill Potter Dimond (1790-1857)

Portrait from "Charles D'Wolf of Guadaloupe, his ancestors and descendants", 1902.

    Certainly one of the oddest named legislators ever elected to the Rhode Island General Assembly, Hopestill Potter Dimond was a lifelong resident of the Ocean State, a state that was last visited here with our June 2013 write-up on state representative and Central Falls mayor Eastwood Eastwood. A descendant of a family long prominent in the affairs of Bristol, Dimond's surname was also spelled "Diman", "Diamond" and "Diament" by earlier branches of the family. Born in Bristol on November 16, 1790, Hopestill Potter Dimond was the eldest of six children born to Capt. Royal (1768-1820) and Elizabeth Moore Diman. 
   Little information exists on Dimond's youth or education, excepting notice of his marriage to Eliza Nichols Attwood (1797-1888) on April 17, 1815. The couple's forty-two year union would see the births of eight children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Montgomery (1816-1863), William Frazier (1818-1893), Mary (1820-1822), Hopestill (1823-1853), Charles Wesley (1829-1880), Francis Moore (born 1833), John Nichols (1836-1880) and Elizabeth (1839-1899).
   In 1818 Hopestill P. Dimond was elected to represent Bristol in the Rhode Island General Assembly and served during the 1819-20 session. In addition to his legislative service Dimond also held the post of inspector at the U.S. Customs House at Bristol for three decades, and died in Bristol on October 15, 1857 at age 66. He was survived by his wife and six of his children and was interred at the Juniper Hill Cemetery in Bristol
  Public service continued in the Diman/Dimond family in Francis Moore Dimond (1796-1859), the brother of the man profiled here. Francis M. Dimond served as U.S. Consul in Port-au-Prince Haiti from 1832-1835 and from 1842-49 was U.S. Consul in Veracruz. He was elected as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island in 1853 and later succeeded to the Governorship upon the resignation of Governor Phillip Allen, serving in that capacity until 1854.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lacon Dorsey Stockton (1814-1860)

Portrait courtesy of www.iowacourts.gov. 

"He was about six feet in height, well proportioned, good-looking, of apparently rugged health, wore glasses, of correct habits, studious, fond of literature, and possessed of much general information. He had less legal practice than most of those I have mentioned, and did not seem anxious for practice or popularity."
   Such was the description given of Lacon Dorsey Stockton, a former Mayor of Burlington, Iowa and an Associate Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. A transplant to Iowa from Kentucky, Stockton was born in Richmond County in 1814, a son of Joshua and Phoebe (Durrett) Stockton. Little is known of Stockton's early life in Kentucky excepting that he was admitted to the bar prior to removing to Iowa in either 1836 or 1837.  Lacon D. Stockton is recorded as having married in Clermont County, Ohio in 1841 to Elizabeth B. Collins, to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have a total of seven children (as per the 1850 and 1860 censuses) and are listed as follows: Sally, John Collins, Richard, Phebe, Robert, Harry and Frank.
    Following his resettlement in Iowa Stockton established himself in Burlington, where he would practice law. He entered the political life of that state in the early 1840s when he held the post of District Attorney of Des Moines County from 1843-46. Stockton later went on serve as a solicitor for Burlington in 1848 and 1850, and in 1854  served as Mayor of Burlington for one term, being succeeded in 1855 by Silas Hudson.
   In addition to local politics Stockton would add the title of newspaper editor to his resume, serving as the editor of the Burlington Hawk-Eye for a brief period in 1851. Stockton also left an imprint upon the early educational history of Burlington, being a past secretary for a Burlington school commission in 1849 and in 1853-54 was a school district director.
   The high mark of Lacon Stockton's political and judicial career occurred in 1856 when he was appointed by Governor James W. Grimes as an Associate Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. Stockton's appointment came about due to the resignation of Justice Norman Isbell, and he was reelected to the bench by the legislature in 1857. Stockton's four year tenure on the bench was profiled in the 1885 Portrait and Biographical History of Des Moines County, which notes that
"This office was one he was eminently fitted by his ability, integrity, learning and sound judgement. He was an excellent writer, and those who will study his opinions will not only find them sound in law, but clad in a simple, terse, incisive style, of which Lincoln's was the supreme example."
   Lacon D. Stockton continued on the bench until his death from consumption on June 9, 1860. Just 46 years old at the time of his death, he was the first Iowa supreme court justice to die in office and his lack of years robbed Iowa of a man who had the potential of being "amongst the very first Judges of the land." A burial location for both Stockton and his wife remains unknown at this time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Farrand Kayley Shuttleworth (1863-1929)

From the Madison Capital Times, November 16, 1929.

   An attorney based in Madison, Wisconsin for over three decades, Farrand Kayley Shuttleworth earns a place here on the site due to his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives and Governor of Wisconsin, running as an independent candidate in the latter election in 1924. A lifelong Wisconsin resident, Shuttleworth was born near Fennimore, Wisconsin on April 17, 1863, one of several children born to Craven and Nancy Shuttleworth. His early life saw him grow up in a log cabin and he was a student in the common schools of Grant County. Shuttleworth graduated from the Platteville High School and later taught school in the mining community of New Diggins, and during his residency there he and his father took an interest in developing a railroad line between Fennimore and Woodman, Wisconsin. 
   Farrand K. Shuttleworth would turn his attention to law studies in the late 1880s and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, graduating with his degree in the class of 1892. He established his practice in Madison with fellow attorney E.W. Keyes and on June 9, 1893 married to Elizabeth Dames (1866-1930), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have two children, Farrand Dames (1894-1973) and Saadi Sappho (1899-1970). 
  Remarked as a "good conversationalist", and a "literary man", Shuttleworth would practice law in Madison for thirty-five years and both he and his son Farrand Dames were retained as attorneys for the appellants in the case of Lacher vs, Venus, a decision noted by the Madison Capital Times as having "set aside the adoption laws of Wisconsin". 
   Shuttleworth entered the political life of Madison in 1914 when he announced his candidacy for Mayor. Despite being unsuccessful in his attempt, Shuttleworth's campaign was notable as he declared that if elected he would "not receive one penny from the city on account of the salary attached to the office." Prior to his campaign for Governor in 1924 Shuttleworth also made two unsuccessful runs for the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin's 3rd district. In the September 1920 Republican primary he placed third in a field of three candidates (garnering 4, 848 votes) and in the 1922 primary received 6,877 votes, well behind incumbent Republican John M. Nelson's winning total of  25, 549

From the Madison Capital Times, 1924.

   In 1924 Farrand Shuttleworth entered the race for Wisconsin Governor as the Independent Progressive Republican candidate. As one of seven candidates vying to wrest the governorship from two term incumbent John J. Blaine, Shuttleworth faced an uphill battle. Despite the odds, he issued a campaign platform in the Madison Capital Times, where he advocated the
"quadrennial elections for all state officers, assessment of a gasoline tax, and reduction of the number of state employees."
   On election day 1924 Shuttleworth placed sixth out of seven candidates, polling 4,079 votes, trailing behind the Democratic, Socialist, Prohibition and Worker's party candidates. Governor John Blaine coasted to an easy victory with over 400,000 votes. 
   Returning to his law practice following his candidacy, Shuttleworth was also an active Mason and member of the Elks and Odd Fellows lodges. In late 1929 his health began to suffer and for several weeks prior to his death had been confined to a hospital in Madison, where he died on November 15, 1929 at age 66. Shuttleworth was survived by his children and his wife Elizabeth, who followed him in death almost a year to the day later. Both were interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison.


Shuttleworth's obituary from the Madison Capital Times, November 16, 1929.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ashmun Asaph Knappen (1828-1909)

From "Free Masonry In Michigan: A Comprehensive History of Michigan Masonry", 1895.

    Methodist minister Ashmun Asaph Knappen is another example of an oddly named clergyman having brief flirtation with politics, in his case being the Prohibition nominee for U.S. Representative from Michigan's 3rd district in 1896. A native of Vermont, Knappen was born in the town of Sudbury on September 4, 1828, being the son of the Rev. Mason and Clarissa (Hutchinson) Knappen. A Congregationalist minister, Mason Knappen removed with his family to Michigan in 1833 via horse drawn wagons through Canada, a four week trip that reportedly left the young Ashmun "deeply impressed".
    Knappen's education occurred at the Branch Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan and married in Kalamazoo in August 1851 to Sarah Jane "Jennie" Stafford (1830-1908), to whom he was wed until her death. The couple would later have five children, Helen, Ida, Harriett, Nelly, Frank and George Frederick (1867-1952). Of these children Frank E. Knappen made substantial inroads into local politics, being city prosecuting attorney for Kalamazoo from 1880-89 and a Republican Presidential Elector for Michigan in 1904. 
   Ashmun A. Knappen would reside in Hastings, Michigan from 1850-57, where he edited the Barry County Pioneer newspaper. In the late 1850s he removed to Kalamazoo, where he began studying law with Julius Caesar Burrows (1837-1915), who would go on to represent Michigan in both houses of Congress for over three decades
    Admitted to the state bar in 1859, Knappen established a law practice in Kalamazoo with Burrows that continued for several years and by 1867 had formed another law firm with Rufus Grosvenor. In the following year Knappen had a religious calling, partly influenced by his wife and friends who had "induced him to attend a business men's morning prayer meeting." Now caught between wanting to continue in the practice of law or to devote his life to religious work, Knappen decided upon the latter, and by the fall of 1868 had joined the Michigan Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church
   Soon after his admittance to the Michigan Conference Knappen was dispatched to Constantine, Michigan, where he accepted a pastorate.  In 1869 he would take on another pastorate in Sturgis (remaining here until 1870) and from 1871-72 preached in Manistee. For the next decade Knappen would preach in Coldwater, Lansing, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids and by 1883 had settled into a pastorate in Hastings. He continued to preach until 1890 and afterwards "lived a retired life at Albion."
    An active Mason in addition to his pastorate, Knappen was for many years the Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan. A temperance advocate, Knappen entered the political life of Michigan in 1896 when he was nominated for the U.S. House of Representatives on the Prohibition ticket. Hoping to represent his state's 3rd congressional district, Knappen was one of three candidates that year and on election day in November lost out in a very lopsided contest, garnering only 441 votes compared to Democratic candidate Albert M. Todd's winning total of 24, 466.
   A.A. Knappen continued to reside in Albion, Michigan into his twilight years and was widowed in 1908. He followed his wife Sarah in death one year later on June 17, 1909 at age 80. Both were interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Albion. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hamblett Clark Grigg (1872-1964)

Portrait from the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1911-12.

  I can always count on the Missouri state legislature to field a strange new name discovery, and after a lapse of several months, we return to the Show Me State to highlight the life of one term state representative Hamblett Clark "Ham" Grigg. Aside from his interesting name, Grigg's life outside of the legislature is worth noting, as he was the younger brother of Charles Leiper Grigg (1860-1940), the creator of the famed 7 Up soda, amongst other soft drinks.
  Hamblett Clark Grigg was born in Price's Branch, Missouri on February 9, 1872, being the son of Charles and Mary Elizabeth Leiper Grigg. He attended public schools as well as the Mexico High School in Mexico, Missouri. Sources also note that Grigg was employed as a clerk in a general store during his youth. Ham Grigg married in Price's Branch in June 1898 to Maude Mason (1876-1962), to whom he was wed for over sixty years. The couple would remain childless and later resided in Bellflower, Missouri. Grigg engaged in mercantile pursuits following his marriage, being the business manager of the Grigg Mercantile Co. in Bellflower.
   In 1910 Ham Grigg became the Democratic nominee for the Missouri State House of Representatives from Montgomery County. On election day he defeated Republican candidate W.C. Goshorn by only 45 votes, and during the 1911-12 session sat on the committees on Accounts, Banks and Banking, Municipal Corporations and Roads and Highways.
   Following his term in the state house Ham Grigg saw his elder brother Charles gain prominence in the St. Louis business community, being a salesman for an advertising company in that city. During this time Charles Grigg created and marketed his first carbonated beverage, "Whistle", and after moving on to another advertising company, developed a orange flavored soft drink called "Howdy". Grigg would subsequently found the Howdy Co. with a partner, and in the succeeding years the company grew to such an extent bottling sites were added to the business. Little information could be found as to Ham Grigg's connection to his brother's business, excepting mention of his being a partner in the Howdy Company in 1921, and a 1930 census mention of his status as an office clerk in a soda water manufacturing concern. In 1929 Charles Grigg would invent 7 Up, and following his death in 1940 the stewardship of his company passed to Hamblett Charles Grigg (1905-1977), the nephew of our subject and the son of Charles Leiper.
   Despite living to the age of 91, little else could be found on the life of Hamblett Clark Grigg. Widowed in 1962 after sixty-four years of marriage, Grigg survived his wife Maude by over a year, dying on February 9, 1964, a month short of his 92nd birthday. Both he and his wife were interred at the New Providence Methodist Church Cemetery in Bellflower, Missouri.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cortez Perry Hooker (1814-1886), Cortez Ewing (1862-1901)

Portrait from the Past and Present of Macomb County, Michigan, 1905.

  After a lengthy stay in the Washington D.C.-Virginia area, we journey to Michigan to highlight the life of Cortez Perry Hooker, a transplant to that state from New York. A member of both houses of the Michigan legislature and a prominent farmer in Macomb County, Hooker's unusual first name "Cortez" was most likely given to him in honor of Hernan Cortes (Cortez), the famed Spanish conquistador and Governor of New Spain who overthrew the Aztec Empire in the early 1520s. 
   Born in Hampton, New York on October 14, 1814, Cortez Perry Hooker was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Martin) Hooker. Little information could be found on Hooker's early life in New York, and by 1837 he had resettled in Macomb County, Michigan, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Hooker first established himself in Clinton township, and resided there for three years. In the early 1840s he purchased a farm in Washington township, and during his decade long residency there married in 1842 to Margaret Axford (1819-1861). The couple would remain childless and following Margaret's death he remarried in October 1864 to Sarah Ann Smith (1834-1916), with whom he had two children, John C. (1865-1938) and Mary.
  Hooker first entered Macomb County politics in the mid 1840s when he became a Justice of the Peace. He would hold a number of other local offices (including county superintendent of the poor and village alderman) and in 1849 became one of six candidates from Macomb County vying for a seat in the state house of representatives. Hooker would emerge victorious on election day, garnering 1,172 votes, and was one of three Macomb County representatives elected that year
   Serving during the 1850-51 session, Hooker sat on the committee on Enrolled BillsHe continued his political ascent in 1854 by winning election to the state senate, defeating Republican candidate William Canfield by only thirteen votes! During the 1855-56 term Hooker sat on the committees on Manufactures and following his service resided in New Baltimore, Michigan, where he engaged in both merchandising and farming, being acknowledged by the 1882 History of Macomb County as "one of the most extensive, if not the most extensive, farmers in the county.
   Hooker continued involvement in Macomb County politics into the 1860s and 70s, once again serving as a justice of the peace and in 1870 and 1872 was a candidate for county coroner. Cortez Perry Hooker died in New Baltimore on November 7, 1886 at age 72 and was survived by his wife Sarah. Both were interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in that town.

From the Biographical Sketches and Review of the Bench and Bar of Indiana, 1895.

   The political star of Indiana state senator Cortez Ewing shone briefly and brightly in late the late 19th century, being terminated by his death from an epileptic attack in 1901. Remarked as one of the most "adroit young lawyers" ever to practice in Decatur County, Ewing was admitted to the state bar at just 20 years of age and at age 27 was elected as a state senator. Ewing was lifelong native of Decatur County, being born there on September 14, 1862, the son of Abel and Nancy (Patton) Ewing. Bestowed his unusual name in honor of his uncle, attorney Cortez Ewing (1837-1887), the younger Ewing worked the family farm during his youth and would attend school in Greensburg.
   In 1879 the seventeen year old Ewing began reading law under his uncle. He continued his studies for nearly four years, and in February 1883 was admitted to the Indiana bar ex gracia, as he was under age. In September of that year Ewing began a law practice with his uncle, Judge James K. Ewing, a firm that would continue until 1893. Cortez Ewing began involvement in local politics in his early twenties, being a member of the Decatur County Central Committee from 1884-1894. In 1889 he was elected to the Indiana state senate from the counties of Decatur and Shelby and served one four year term. Ewing married during his term on June 18, 1890 to Mary Fletcher Matthews, a daughter of future Indiana Governor Claude Matthews (1845-1898).  The couple would have two children, Claude Whitcomb (1891-1966) and Helen Nan.
   While still an incumbent senator Ewing was selected by then Governor Alvin Hovey to serve on the Board of Managers for the World's Fair for Indiana. Ewing filled that role until the conclusion of the fair in 1893 and continued with his law practice in Greensburg, partnering with lawyer Davisson Wilson in 1895. Ewing would also be retained as counsel for the Big Four Railway Company. 
  Despite being in the prime of his life Ewing grappled with the effects of epilepsy, a malady that eventually claimed his life at age 39 on November 1, 1901. Newspaper reports on his death relate that he had spent a good portion of that day in court and while waiting for a passenger train that evening "dropped dead" at the passenger depot, due to a epileptic seizure. Ewing was survived by his wife and children and was later interred at the South Park Cemetery in Greensburg. 

From the Indianapolis Journal, November 2, 1901.