Saturday, December 9, 2017

Deaderick Chandler Dungan (1899-1983)

Portrait from the 1949 North Carolina State Manual.

    A one term member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Deaderick Chandler Dungan had earlier served a term as mayor of the city of Salisbury. A native of Arkansas, Chandler was born in Little Rock on October 6, 1899, being the son of John Morgan and Anne Mitchell Dungan. A student at the Little Rock High School, Dungan would attend the New Mexico Military Institute at Roswell from 1916-18 and also studied at Cornell University.
   Towards the conclusion of American involvement in the First World War Deaderick Dungan began training at the Officers Training Corps at Fort Monroe in Virginia. His state military career would continue with his service in the North Carolina State Guard from 1941-47, having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dungan married in November 1924 to Vivian May Gregory (1900-1971), with whom he had two daughters, Anne and Jeanne.
   A tractor and farm implement dealer in Salisbury for a number of years, Dungan entered city political life in 1937 when he was elected to the city council. He would win election as mayor of Salisbury in 1938 (serving from 1939-41) and following his term was returned to the city council, holding his seat until 1947. In 1948 Dungan was elected as Rowan County's representative to the North Carolina General Assembly, and during his one term (1949-51) held seats on several house committees, those being Conservation and Development; Counties, Cities and Towns; Finance; Manufactures and Labor; Military Affairs; Public Utilities; Public Welfare; Roads and Wildlife Resources.
   A member of the Knights of Pythias, Elks Lodge and the American Legion, Deaderick Dungan continued to reside in Salisbury following his term, and was recorded as a fertilizer plant owner. Widowed in 1971, Dungan died in Salisbury on March 19, 1983 and was later interred at the Memorial Park Cemetery in that city.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Parkhurst Ward Cutler (1848-1930)

Portrait from the Biographical Review of Hancock County, Illinois, 1907.

  A longtime resident of Hancock County, Illinois, Parkhurst Ward Cutler pledged allegiance to the Democratic party for a good majority of his life, until joining the Prohibition party in the mid 1880s. A Prohibition candidate for the Illinois State Board of Equalization (as well as several local offices), Cutler would also receive that party's nomination for U.S. Representative from Illinois' 14th congressional district in 1912. The son of Nathan and Hannah (Ward) Cutler, Parkhurst Ward Cutler was born in Fulton County, Illinois of February 27, 1847.The Cutler family resettled in Hancock County when their son was but five years old, and young Parkhurst would attend the "common schools" in the area, as well as working the family farm and briefly studying at the Central College in Pella, Iowa
   After attaining maturity, Cutler purchased 120 acres of land near Carthage, Illinois and established himself as a farmer and stock-raiser. He would subsequently purchase additional property to expand his fields and would be later acknowledged as "probably the most extensive stock feeder in Carthage township, usually shipping about two hundred fat cattle per year." Cutler's prominence in stock-raising saw him be the first farmer to introduce Hereford cattle to Carthage township, and also exhibited his stock at several fairs during his life.
   Parkhurst Cutler married on hist twenty-fourth birthday in 1871 to Fannie Gage Barker (1838-1933). The couples marriage extended nearly sixty years and their union would see the births of two sons, Nathan Barker (1873-1953) and Ward Augustus (1875-1953). 
   An adherent of the Democratic party until the mid 1880s, Cutler switched political allegiance to the Prohibition party in 1884, becoming a "stalwart champion of the cause of temperance." A candidate of that party for several local political offices, Cutler made his first run for state office in 1900, becoming a candidate for the Illinois State Board of Equalization from the 15th district. On election day he received just 878 votes, well behind Republican candidate John Cruttenden's winning total of 24, 510. In 1912 Cutler returned to politics, receiving the Prohibition nomination for U.S. Representative from his state's 14th congressional district. As one of four candidates that year, Cutler garnered a meager 680 votes that November, losing out to Democratic candidate Clyde Tavenner's winning vote of 17, 024
   A former director of the Harmony Mutual Fire Insurance Company and a longtime Baptist church member, Parkhurst W. Cutler continued to reside in Carthage, Illinois until his death at age 82 on May 3, 1930. His widow Fannie followed him to the grave three years later at age 94, and both were interred at the Moss Ridge Cemetery in Carthage.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Other Vernon Woodrome (1896-1973)

Portrait courtesy of Ark-Ives.

   Marianna, Arkansas native Other Vernon Woodrome is another odd named man who held political office in the "Natural State", serving one term in the state legislature from Lee County. The son of A.C. and Phenie (Waddell) Woodrome, Other Vernon "O.V. Woodrome was born in Greenbrier, Arkansas on January 28, 1896. Woodrome would attend schools local to Faulkner County, Arkansas and also was a student at the  University of Arkansas and Arkansas State Teachers College (receiving his A.B. degree at the latter.)
   O.V. Woodrome married in August 1917 to Willie Edna Lawrence (1898-1991), with whom he had one son, John Vernon (1919-2002). A veteran of WWI, Woodrome would serve in the U.S. Navy as a seaman from 1917-1919. A farmer and teacher in Marianna for the majority of his life, Woodrome was also a member of the local Mason and Elks lodges, as well as the Farm Bureau. In 1936 Woodrome won election to the Arkansas House of Representatives and during his one term (1937-1939) held seats on the following committees: Education, Levies and Drainage, Militia and the Penitentiary.
  Little else could be found on Woodrome's life following his time in state government, excepting notice of his death in Conway, Arkansas on November 21, 1973 at age 77. He was survived by his wife and son and was interred at the Crestlawn Cemetery in Conway

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Arlander Denson Dulaney (1877-1952)

Portrait from the Annual Report of the Arkansas Insurance Department, 2009.

  Lifelong Arkansas resident Arlander Denson Dulaney rose to become a leading lawyer in Little River County, and in addition to practicing law was elected to four consecutive terms in his state's house of representatives. Late in his life Dulaney would be returned to government service, holding the post of state insurance commissioner for two years. The son of the Rev. Thomas Dulaney (a Baptist minister) and the former Amanda McCasey, Arlander D. Dulaney was born in Sevier County, Arkansas on August 26, 1877.
  A student in the Sevier County public schools, Dulaney later attended the University of Arkansas for two years before taking on a teaching position in Little River County, which he would follow for eight years. In the early 1900s Dulaney enrolled in the law department of the University of Arkansas and, following his graduation in 1905, established his first law practice in the town of Ashdown. He married on October 6, 1909 to Elizabeth Nix Corbett (1890-1980), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have at least one daughter, Elizabeth Nix Dulaney Galloway.
  Several years following his settlement in Ashdown Dulaney joined fellow attorneys James Steel and J.S. Lake in the firm of Steel, Lake and Dulaney, a firm that enjoyed an "extensive and prosperous business." Dulaney first entrance into the political life of his state came with his election to the Arkansas House of Representatives in September 1902. He would win a second term in September 1904 and his third term in 1906, and by the time of his fourth legislative victory in September 1908 was noted as having been the "only member of the house that had served his constituents four consecutive terms as representative." A member of a number of important committees during his eight years in the house, Dulaney would chair the committee on Appropriations during the 1907-10 sessions.
   Both prior to and after his legislative service Dulaney was engaged with several business concerns, both in Little River County and elsewhere. Amongst these were the Southern Realty and Trust Company (of which he would serve as vice-president), the Arkansas Trust and Banking Company (serving as its attorney) and was a member of the State Historical Commission for his home county of Little River.
   Dulaney was returned to political life in November 1916 when he entered into the post of prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Ninth Chancery Circuit, an office he'd hold until 1921.  In 1931 he was appointed as State Commissioner of Insurance, succeeding W.E. Floyd, who had served two terms in office. Dulaney's term (1931-33) saw him pull political "double-duty", as it were, serving as state fire marshal in addition to his post of commissioner. During his time in office Dulaney also announced he'd be seeking a seat in Congress from Arkansas' 4th legislative district. Hoping to succeed Effiegene Wingo (who had declined renomination) Dulaney's candidacy did't extend past the primary season, and William Ben Cravens would eventually be elected to the seat.
  Arlander Dulaney continued to serve Arkansas well into his twilight years, being an executive assistant commissioner in the state insurance department in 1942. Dulaney died in Ashdown on June 4, 1952 at age 74. He was later interred at the Ashdown Cemetery, and was survived by his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1980 at age 90.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meverell Knox Allen (1846-1919)

From the 1892 "History of Kentucky".

  A longtime physician based in Louisville, Kentucky, Meverell Knox Allen had a brief stay on his state's political stage in the late 19th century, being a delegate to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention of 1890-91. The son of James and Caroline (Muir) Allen, Meverell K. Allen was born on April 15, 1846 in Spencer County, Kentucky. His early education was obtained in schools local to Spencer County, and following a one year stint as a school teacher decided upon a career in medicine. He would study medicine under Taylorsville physician Thomas Allen beginning in 1864 and later enrolled in the University of Louisville's department of medicine. Allen earned his medical degree in 1867 and shortly thereafter opened his practice in Taylorsville. 
  In the same year as his graduation Allen married to Bloomfield, Kentucky native Sue Miles. The marriage proved to be brief, as Miles is recorded as dying shortly afterward. In 1869 Allen remarried, taking as his wife one Eliza Stone (1852-1886), with whom he would have one daughter, Maud Katie (1872-1905).
  Meverell K. Allen's residency in Taylorsville extended until 1870, whereafter he removed to Louisville. Following his resettlement he returned to practicing medicine and in 1874 was elected as that city's health officer, a position he would hold until 1877. In 1880 he was named as physician for the Louisville city work house, and in addition to medicine was also heavily involved in Louisville educational affairs, being a school trustee and president of the city school board (holding the latter office from 1888-90.)
  Active in several business concerns in Louisville, Allen was a former president of the Daisy Realty Company and a director of the Snider Land and Stock Company. He also attained distinction in banking, serving as director of the Westview Savings Bank and Building Company and was vice president of the Standard National Savings and Loan Association. 
  Allen's most prominent foray into state politics came in 1890 when he was elected as a delegate from Louisville's 2nd district to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention. During the convention proceedings Allen sat on the committees on Elections, Education and Railroads & Commerce, and also offered a resolution wanting to amend the then existing state constitution to 
"Establish three Magisterial Districts for the city of Louisville in lieu of the City Court of said city, which shall be abolished, together with all officers connected therewith; said Magisterial Districts so established to have criminal jurisdiction, and civil jurisdiction to the extent of three hundred dollars."
Portrait courtesy of the Kentucky State Historical Society.

  Following his constitutional convention service Allen again served as health officer for the city of Louisville and for a number of years was retained as medical director for the Inter-Southern Life Insurance Company. On March 13, 1919 Allen died of heart disease at his Louisville home and was later interred alongside his wife and daughter at the famed Cave Hill Cemetery in that city.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Amyot Willard Cherrington (1888-1970)

Portrait from the Springville Herald, March 13, 1969.

   A lifelong resident of Springville, Utah, Amyot Willard Cherrington became one of that city's most honored sons during his life, being active in farming, business and religious work. Elected as the Mayor of Springville in November 1953, Cherrington had previously served as head of the Utah Poultry Association in the early 1940s. 
  Born in Springville on March 9, 1888, Amyot Willard Cherrington was the son of Joseph and Prudence (Straw) Herrington. The origins behind his outstandingly different first name remain unknown, but could have a connection to French scholar Jacques Amyot (1513-1593), a writer active during the Renaissance. Amyot would serve as Bishop in Auxerre, France beginning in the 1570s and is remembered today for having translated a number of classical works, including those by Greek writers Plutarch, Longus and Diodorus.  
   A student in schools local to Springville, Cherrington would go on to attend Brigham Young University and in June 1909 married at the Salt Lake Temple to Hilda E. Wheeler (1889-1974). The couple were wed for over sixty years and their union saw the births of five children: Captola (1910-1999), Jack (1914-2008), Amyot Bert (1919-1995), Carol (1923-2014) and Jane (birth-date unknown).
  In the years prior to his marriage Cherrington had entered into the contracting business, which he would follow for a decade. Following the sale of his contracting business Cherrington began a lengthy career as a fruit grower and farmer, being the owner of a farm in Mapleton as well as the Roe E. Deal property near Springville. Specializing in cherries, the Springville Herald notes that Cherrington employed hundreds of young workers to work his properties, and in addition to ownership of the aforementioned farms was a member of the state board of fruit and vegetables and a founding member of the Springville-Mapleton Fruit Growers Association

From the Springville Herald, February 24, 1944.

   As a prominent agriculturalist in Utah County, Cherrington also loomed large in poultry industry, serving on the state board of poultry producers and in February 1944 was elected president of the Utah Poultry Cooperative Association. He also maintained an interest in a number of other business entities in the Utah County area, being a member of the Board of Directors of the Springville Irrigation Co. and the Springville Chamber of Commerce. A longstanding member of the Mormon church, Cherrington was a bishop for Springville's first ward from 1930-35 and was twice a High Councilman. A former ward president of the Springville Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, Cherrington was described in his Springville Herald obituary as a active participant in church functions and at the time of his death in 1970 was serving as a High Priest for Springville's sixth ward.
   Following their retirement from fruit growing in 1953 Cherrington and his wife sold their farm and resettled in Springville. He was soon after elected as that city's mayor and during his two terms in office (1954-1958) is remarked as having been "instrumental in procuring added culinary water and facilities to the city's system." Amyot Willard Cherrington died at his Springville home on December 31, 1970 at age 82. He was survived by his wife Hilda, who, following her passing in 1974, was interred alongside her husband at the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville. 

From the Springville Herald, January 27, 1955.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cunard Jackson Broome (1923-1999)

From the 1957-58 Georgia Official and Statistical Register.

    A newspaper publisher and one term representative in the Georgia state assembly, Cunard Jackson "C.J." Broome hailed from Alma, Georgia, a city that also produced two other oddly named political figures featured here, Braswell Drue Deen Sr. and his son, Judge Braswell D. Deen Jr. A lifelong Georgia resident, "C.J." Broome was born in Jeffersonville, Georgia on December 5, 1923, being the son of Carl Jackson (a newspaper owner and former mayor of Nahunta, Georgia) and Exie Lurline (Cunard) Broome. A student in schools local to Brantley County, Georgia, Broome graduated from the local high school in 1940 and in 1949 received his BCS degree from the University of Georgia
  While still in his teens Broome followed in his father's stead and entered into newspaper publishing, joining the staff of the Alma Times. By 1942 he had succeeded to the post of editor and at age 21 was serving as that paper's publisher. Cunard Broome married in Coweta County Georgia in December 1947 to Myrtle Inez Tanner (1912-2004). The couple were wed for over five decades and their union would see the births of two children, Lynda Sue (born 1949) and Lou Jena (born 1951).
    A well known civic leader in Alma, C.J. Broome was a prominent figure in a number of civic groups prior to his election to the state assembly, serving as director of the Alma Board of Trade and president of the Georgia Press Association. Broome also held the presidency of the Alma Lions Club, the presidency of the Georgia Junior Chamber of Commerce's 8th district, and was a former director of the Housing Authority of the city of Alma. 
  Elected to the state assembly in November 1956, Cunard Broome succeeded Braswell Drue Deen Jr. as Bacon County's representative in the legislature. Shortly before the expiration of his term Broome entered the Democratic primary race for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, and in September 1958 placed third in a field of five candidates, garnering 49, 686 votes. Following his term Broome retired from the newspaper business and operated the Great Earth Properties real estate agency, as well as serving as chairman of a "multi-county Transportation task force working to improve road rail and port infrastructure in southeast Georgia." 
   Cunard Jackson Broome died at age 76 on October 20, 1999. He was survived by his wife Myrtle, who, following her passing in 2004 was interred alongside him at the Oakland Cemetery in Waycross, Georgia.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Boswell DeGraffenreid Waddell (1865-1937)

Portrait from the "History of Alabama and Her People", Vol. III.

   Alabama has fielded a number of oddly named folks featured here in the past, and Boswell DeGraffenreid Waddell (a multi term state representative and senator), is certainly one of the most uniquely named men to serve in some political capacity in the "Heart of Dixie."  I first located Waddell's name via a 1912 Alabama statistical register way back in 2009 and since that time he continually stymied me out of a photograph, that was until the discovery of the above portrait, featured in Volume III of Albert Burton Moore's History of Alabama and Her People, published in 1927.
   A native of Columbus, Georgia, Boswell DeGraffenreid Waddell was born in that city on August 25, 1865, being the eldest son of James Fleming Waddell and the former Adelaide Victoria DeGraffenreid. A distinguished figure in his own right, James F. Waddell (1828-1892) was a veteran of both the Mexican-American and Civil War and was later named U.S. Consul in Matamoras, Mexico. Waddell would also serve as judge of probate for Russell County, Alabama (having settled there in 1857) and held that post from 1865-68. 
   Boswell DeG. Waddell attended the public schools of Russell County and also studied at a private school in Columbus, Georgia. After leaving school Waddell briefly worked as a civil engineer before deciding upon a career in law, beginning study in the law office of his father. He was admitted to the Alabama bar in 1887 and shortly thereafter began a practice in Seale that would extend over forty years. In the same year as his admission Waddell took on the post of deputy solicitor for Russell County, an office he'd continue to hold well into the late 1920s.
  In 1889 Waddell was elected to the first of two terms as mayor of Seale, and in 1901 served as Russell County's delegate to the Alabama Constitutional Convention, being a member of the committees on local legislation and the militia during the convention proceedings. Waddell continued to advance politically in November 1902, when he won election to the Alabama House of Representatives. Serving during the 1903-07 session, Waddell was named to the committees on the Judiciary, Privileges and Elections, Local Legislation and Commerce and Common Carriers. On May 12, 1909 Waddell married to Carrie B. Jennings, a music teacher. The couple were wed until Boswell's death and would remain childless.
  Waddell would win his second term in the house in 1910 and his sophomore term in the legislature (1911-15) saw him named to two new committees, those being Claims and Fees, and Game, Fish and Forestry Preservation (of which he was chairman). November 1918 saw Waddell win his third term in the state house, and was a member of the committee on Enrolled Bills during the 1919-23 term.
   In November 1922 Waddell attained his highest degree of political prominence when he was elected to the first of two terms in the Alabama state senate. During those sessions (1923-27 and 1927-31) he was a member of the committees on Fish, Game and Forestry, the Judiciary, Public Health, and Rules. In addition to public service Waddell was active in the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Alabama Bar Association, and also owned a three hundred acre farm near Seale. He continued political prominence well into his twilight years, and in 1935 was serving as county solicitor for Russell County. 
  Boswell DeGraffenreid Waddell died at age 72 on November 22, 1937. His wife Carrie survived her husband by six years, and following her death in 1943 was interred alongside him in the Waddell family plot at the Seale United Methodist Church and Cemetery.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Indemon Benjamin Moore (1869-1956)

Portrait from the Tennessee General Assembly composite of 1913.

  After a few weeks of highlighting several oddly named members of the Tennessee state assembly, we conclude our stay in the Volunteer State with a peek at the life of Indemon Benjamin Moore of White County. The first "Indemon" I've happened across, Moore is equally as obscure as the men who've preceded him here, and other than mention of his election to the Tennessee legislature, little information could be located on him.
  Born on October 14, 1869, Indemon Benjamin "Dim" Moore was one of several children born to Hugh Losson Carrick (1831-1926) and Nancy (Cantrell) Moore (1844-1923). No information could be located on Moore's early life or education, excepting his becoming a school teacher in the White County area in the 1890s, a vocation that he would subsequently follow for over forty years. Moore married sometime in the early 1900s to Cynthia Elizabeth Moore, with whom he had one son, Elton Lee (1906-1948).
   Following his marriage Indemon B. Moore served as both chairman of the Democratic Executive committee of White County and president of the White County Educational Association. In 1912 Moore was elected as White County's representative to the Tennessee General Assembly and during his term (1913-15)  sat on the committee on Commerce and chaired the committee on Education
  Widowed in 1947, Moore also suffered the loss of his son Elton in the year following his wife's death. Indemon Moore died on February 3, 1956 at age 86 and was later interred at the Moore Cove Cemetery in White County. One should also note that Moore's first name has two variations in spelling in addition to the one given here, also being spelled as Indimon and Indenmon.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Felty Devault Massengill (1815-1894)

Portrait from "The Massengills Massengales and Variants, 1472-1931".

   The Strangest Names in American Political History continues its trek through Tennessee to highlight the life of another obscure Volunteer State representative, Felty Devault Massengill of Sullivan County. Like Whitthorne Bell and Skipwith T. Foote before him, minimal information could be located on Massengill, excepting brief mention of his being a state representative, farmer and mill owner. The son of Henry and Elizabeth (Emmert) Massengill, Felty Devault Massengill was born in Tennessee on April 30, 1815.
   Acknowledged as having "received the usual country advantages" in regards to schooling, Felty Massengill married in May 1836 to Deborah Webb (1811-1874), to whom he was wed until her death. This marriage would produce eight children, and a year following his wife's passing remarried to Martha Latture Mauk/Mauck (1844-1890), a union that would produce a further three children, Mary Porter (born 1877), Martha Ema (born 1880) and Walter Clark (born 1882). 
   A farmer for a good majority of his life, Massengill also "boated down the Tennessee and Holston rivers" and owned a mill on the Weaver Branch of the Holston River, operating it until his death. In 1854 he was elected as Sullivan County's representative to the Tennessee General Assembly and during the 1855-57 session served on the committee on New Counties and County Lines
  Little else could be found on Massengill's life following his term, excepting notice of his death in Sullivan County on March 30, 1894 at age 78. He was later interred alongside his wives at the Massengill Cemetery in Piney Flats, Tennessee. One should also note that Massengill's last name has a few variations in spelling, being given as both Masengill and Massengale.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Skipwith Taylor Foote (1869-1938)

Portrait from the 1933 Tennessee General Assembly composite.

   Tennessee state representative Skipwith Taylor Foote received brief mention in the October 21 write up on Whitthorne Levi Bell, and is one of several oddly named assemblymen to have served in the legislative session of 1933-35. Equally as obscure as the man who preceded him here, Skipwith T. Foote was born in Hardeman County, Tennessee on December 29, 1869, one of several children born to John Luther and Sarah Anne (Thomas) Foote. Like Whitthorne Bell, the dearth of resources in regards to Mr. Foote have left most of his life a mystery, including his early life and education.
   Foote married in August 1903 to Margaret Luther (1870-1962), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have at least six children, Sarah Emerson (1904-2001), Virginia (1906-1994), Luther (1908-1979), Mildred (born 1910), Margaret (1913-2001) and John Thomas (born 1918). 
  Sources denote Foote as a farmer in Hardeman County and in 1932 he was elected as a Democrat to the Tennessee General Assembly. During the 1933-35 session Foote introduced house bills #484 and 485 to "regulate work on roads" and "regulate division of road funds" for Hardeman County. Little else could be found on Foote's life after his term concluded in 1935, excepting notice of his death in Bolivar, Tennessee on July 23, 1938 at age 68. He was survived by his wife Margaret and both were interred at the Perrans Chapel Baptist Church Cemetery in Bolivar.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Whitthorne Levi Bell (1880-1961)

Portrait from the 1933 Tennessee Assembly composite.

   A recent cull through the archives of the Tennessee General Assembly has yielded a host of new names, and the 1933 session of the assembly has proven to be a veritable goldmine. Serving in that session were Ditzler Billoat Brown, Watterson Grady Sidwell, Thepher Jerard White, Skipwith Taylor Foote, and today's"honoree" Whitthorne Levi Bell. Unfortunately, details on Bell's life remain difficult to come by, hence why his article here will be on the short side!
  The son of William Levi and Martha Caroline (Whitaker) Bell, Whitthorne Levi "Whit" Bell was born in Waynesboro, Tennessee on August 16, 1880. Nothing could be found in regards to Bell's schooling or early life, excepting notice of his marriage in the early 1900s to Izora (Downing) Bell (1880-1963). The couple's lengthy union produced seven children, James Paul (1903-1943), Whitney Louise (1905-1938), Hazel K. (1908-1979), Aaron Burwell (1911-1981), William Howard (1913-1973), Delphia Elizabeth (1915-1988) and an infant daughter who died in 1907. 
   A former vice president of the First National Bank of Hohenwald, Tennessee, Whit Bell also served as Wayne County commissioner of highways and accounts in 1931. In the following year Bell was elected as a Democrat to the Tennessee General Assembly. Representing the 17th district (comprising the counties of Wayne, Lewis, Maury and Giles), Bell served during the 1933-35 session and during that term introduced house bill #780 to "protect deer and turkeys, certain county", which would later be signed into law by the Governor. 
  Following his term Bell was a campaign manager in Wayne County for Prentice Cooper's successful 1940 run for Governor. A Mason and member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Whit Bell died on November 10, 1961 at age 71. His wife Izora survived him by two years and following her death in September 1963 was interred alongside him at the Bell Cemetery in Wayne County.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Watterson Grady Sidwell (1893-1967)

Portrait from the 1933 Tennessee legislative composite.

    A three term member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Watterson Grady Sidwell would also serve as a bank president, Democratic National Convention delegate and judge of the Clay County General Sessions Court. The son of John Epison and Mattie Ann (Bennett) Sidwell, W. Grady Sidwell was born in Lillydale, Tennessee on May 13, 1893. A student in the public schools of Celina, Tennessee, Sidwell would graduate from the Burritt College in 1915 and three years later was admitted to the Tennessee bar. Sources also denote Sidwell as a veteran of World War I, but aside from noting the duration of his enlistment (four months), little else could be found on his military service
   Sidwell continued his legal education at Vanderbilt University, earning his bachelor of laws degree in the class of 1919. Within a short period following his graduation Sidwell had established his law practice in Celina, Tennessee and in 1928 was elected to his first political office, that of trustee for Clay County. He served in that capacity until 1931 and in the following year was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly from the 12th floterial district. During the 1933-35 session Sidwell sat on the committee on Military Affairs and in 1934 was elected to a second term in the assembly. Sidwell's two terms in the assembly were subsequently acknowledged in the 1938 edition of Prominent Tennesseans, which remarked that
"In this position he made a creditable record for himself and a satisfactory service to his constituents."

   At the conclusion of his second term in 1937 Sidwell returned to Celina, where in the coming years he would serve on the city council as well as city attorney. In 1940 he served as part of the Tennessee delegation to the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago and in 1949 was returned to political life when he was named as judge of the Clay County Court of General Sessions, a post he would hold only a year. Also in 1949 Sidwell began a twelve year tenure as President of the Bank of Celina, succeeding to that post upon the death of sitting bank president E.P. Fowler.

                                                      From the 1935 Tennessee General Assembly composite.

  Active in several fraternal groups in Clay County, Sidwell was a member of the Celina Lions Club, Shriners, the Canton Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and the American Legion. In 1953 he was a Clay County delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention and in November 1956 won election to a third term in the state assembly. W. Grady Sidwell died on April 8, 1967 at age 73, succumbing to a heart attack at a Clay County hospital. He was survived by his wife Mary Sue (Maxwell) Sidwell, who, following her death in 1985, was interred alongside her husband at the Fitzgerald Cemetery in Celina.

From the 1957 Tennessee Assembly composite.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Orceneth Asbury Fly (1894-1976)

Portrait from the Hondo Anvil Herald, April 6, 1955.

   A longtime civic leader and prominent citizen in Hondo, Texas, Orceneth Asbury Fly can rightfully be called the oddest named mayor this Medina County city ever produced, and in addition to his two terms as mayor was a druggist in that city for over five decades. Born in Utopia, Texas on February 16, 1894, Orceneth Asbury "O.A." Fly was the son of John Sidney and Annalee (Fisher) Fly. Bestowed the unusual names Orceneth Asbury upon his birth, Fly's unsual name may have connection to Orceneth Asbury Fisher (1803-1880), a widely known Methodist minister who spent a good portion of his later life in Texas.
  O.A. Fly attended school in Hondo and following graduation from that city's high school continued study at the Coronel Institute in San Marcos and the University of Texas' Pharmacy School at Galveston. Following his graduation in January 1917 Fly began his career as pharmacist, briefly residing in Laredo and San Antonio before returning to Hondo. He married in May 1917 to Willie LeRoy Barton (1894-1967), to whom he was wed for fifty years. The couple's lengthy union would produce four childrenOrceneth Asbury Jr. (1918-1972), Frances Ruth (1921-2004), William Sidney (born 1925) and the Rev. Richard Fly (1930-1959).
  In January 1919 Fly returned to Hondo and shortly after his return "purchased a half interest" in the Martin Drug Store. Following the purchase the store underwent a name change to the Fly Drug Co. He would remain connected with this business for over fifty years (retiring in January 1970) and was later joined by his sons William Sidney and Orceneth Asbury Jr., the latter also being surgeon based in Houston. During its existence the Fly Drug Co. would carry not only medical supplies and pharmaceuticals but also "sundries, candy, tobacco, gift items, school supplies and the like", as well as sporting goods.
   While prominent in Hondo business circles, O.A. Fly also stood tall in city civic affairs, being a past president of the Chamber of Commerce and Hondo Lions Club, a past master of the local Masonic lodge, as well as a Shriner. Fly also was a longstanding member of the Southwest Texas Pharmaceutical Association and the National Association of Retail Druggists.
   O.A. Fly entered Hondo political life in the late 1940s when he was elected to the city council. In February 1953 Fly announced his candidacy for mayor of Hondo, following incumbent mayor Bob Kollman's announcement that he wouldn't be seeking reelection. In April of that year Fly won the mayorality and would serve two terms in that post. Upon entering the mayor's office, Fly envisioned a bright future for Hondo, remarking
"I want many things for Hondo but especially I would like to see all our streets paved, curbs and sidewalks laid, a federal building, a city hall,  a city library, a large park and city playground. Also, I would like for Hondo to have a zoning ordinance, a standard building code, improved traffic regulations, a stricter enforcement on vaccinating and tagging dogs, a cleaner city and a continuation of the friendly hospitality with which Hondoans make visitors and newcomers feel at home in Hondo."
O.A. Fly at work, from the February 17, 1967 Hondo Anvil Herald.

   Fly's second term as mayor concluded in April 1957 and was succeeded by Dr. Thomas Knopp. In 1967 Fly celebrated not only the five decade anniversary of his entering the druggist trade but also his fiftieth wedding anniversary. He and his wife were subsequently feted with a large party at their home in June of that year, which was attended by over 150 guests from all across the country. Sadly, just two months following their anniversary, Willie Barton Fly died at age 72. In the year following his wife's passing O.A. Fly remarried to Emilia "Millie" Eckhart, to whom he was wed until her death in April 1974
  In January 1970 the Fly Drug Co. was purchased from Fly and his son William by Dan B. Conoly Jr., with the business continuing under the name Dan's Drug Inc. Following his retirement O.A. Fly continued prominence in Hondo, being a member of the Board of Stewards for the Hondo Methodist Church. He died that city on February 3, 1976, just two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday. He was later interred alongside his wife Willie at the Oakwood Cemetery in the Hondo cemetery complex.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Orba Ollie McCurdy (1895-1964)

Portrait from the "Calyx", Washington and Lee Yearbook, 1917.

  Vernon, Texas attorney Orba Ollie McCurdy was a veteran of World War I who would become active in Wilbarger County politics following his return from service, winning election as county prosecuting attorney and county judge. The son of L.E. and Minta Virginia (McDonald) McCurdy, Orba Ollie "O.O." McCurdy was born on November 29, 1895 in Harrold, Texas. Early in his life his family relocated to Vernon, Texas, where he would attend public schools. Deciding upon a career in law, McCurdy studied at both Valparaiso University in Indiana and Washington and Lee University in Virginia, earning his degree from the latter in 1917
  Following American entry into World War I McCurdy enlisted in the Marines, and he would subsequently be stationed at a barracks in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic beginning in 1918. He would hold the rank of sergeant at the time of his discharge and after returning stateside married in 1921 to Josephine Wardlaw (1899-1985), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple are believed to have been childless.
   In 1924 McCurdy won election as County Attorney for Wilbarger County and served two terms in that post (1925-1929). In the early 1940s McCurdy held the presidency of the Vernon Bar Association and in 1945 was elected as its secretary-treasurer. In 1942 he had won election to the first of three terms as Judge of Wilbarger County, and after serving six years on the bench stepped down in early 1949 and returned to practicing law, opening his office at the Herring Bank Building in Vernon
  Active in the American Legion, Rotary Club, Lions Club and the Masons, McCurdy continued to reside in Vernon until his death at home on June 4, 1964 at age 69. He was survived by his wife Josephine, and a burial location for both he and his wife remains unknown at this time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blucher Haynes Erskine (1849-1929)

Portrait from Personnel of the Texas State Government, 1889.

    After several weeks of profiling a number of unusually named New England political figures we journey south to Frio County, Texas and Blucher Haynes Erskine. A farmer and stock raiser, Erskine represented Frio County in the Texas House of Representatives for three terms beginning in 1889. A lifelong Texas resident, Blucher H. Erskine was born in Guadalupe County on August 10, 1849, the eldest son of Andrew Nelson (1826-1862) and Annie T. Erskine (1826-1914). 
   Erskine attended schools local to Guadalupe County and was left fatherless at just thirteen years of age, with Andrew Erskine losing his life at the Battle of Antietam. Blucher Erskine married in May 1872 to Ada Cotton (1850-1939) and would have four sons, Andrew Nelson (1873-1954), John P. (born 1875), Blucher Haynes Jr. (1880-1963) and Fredrick Paul (1885-1958). 
  After entering young adulthood Erskine began a career in milling and stockraising, first in Guadalupe County and later in Frio County. Following his removal to the latter county he became one of that area's leading cattlemen, and in 1884 journeyed to St. Louis to take part in the First National Convention of Cattle Growers of the United States. A representative from the Frio County Stock Association to that meeting, Erskine served on the committees on Credentials, Permanent Organization and Resolutions during the convention proceedings.
  In November 1888 Erskine was elected to represent Frio County (and the rest of the 21st district) in the Texas House of Representatives. Taking his seat at the start of the 1889-91 session, Erskine was named to committees on Finance, Internal Improvements, Lands and Land Office, Public Debt, Stocks and Stock Raising, and Roads, Bridges and Ferries. He would also chair the committee on Irrigation. Erskine won his second term in the house in November 1890 and during that legislative session held a number of new committee assignments, including Finance, State Asylums and chairing the committee on Claims and Accounts.
  Erskine's third win at the ballot box occurred in November 1892, and during his final stint in the legislature chaired the committee on Public Lands and the Land Offices, as well as serving on the Finance and Military affairs committees. Following his time in government Erskine returned to raising short horn cattle and was acknowledged as a "liberal contributor to stock journals of the country." Sadly, Erskine encountered financial hardship in his later years, and in July 1919 wrote the following letter to the Shorthorn World cattle journal:
"Years of drouth [sic] and financial misfortune forced me completely out of the cattle business and I reluctantly parted with my Shorthorns in 1918 after over forty years--1875-1918 as a Shorthorn breeder. I felt like a man suddenly jerked from near the top of the ladder. I had to rub my bruises awhile before trying to mount again. Although nearly 70 years old, I am going to try in a small way, as my little money left will allow me to enter the ''ranks" again and when the final call comes, die a Shorthorn breeder."
   Erskine's last years were spent in Cometa, Crystal City, Texas and during this time was an avid researcher of his family's history, work that would see him author a piece on his father's exploits (published in the June 1927 issue of the Frontier Times Magazine) as well as compiling a 116 page biography entitled "Life of Andrew Nelson Erskine, 1826-1862". Blucher Haynes Erskine died at age 80 on December 20, 1929, with burial occurring at his ranch in Crystal City, Texas.

From the Personnel of the Texas State Government, 1892.