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, Ohio 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 1888 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 818. Active 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 was wed until his death in 1957 and three 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.
Portrait from the 1903 California Blue Book.
In an April 25, 2018 update to this article, another politically involved Montague has been discovered...Montague Bryant Steadman! Steadman is unique as he is the first native of New Zealand to be profiled here on the site, being born in Auckland on September 4th of either 1867 or 1868 (accounts vary). The son of Thomas and Ella Steadman, Steadman's education occurred in the country of his birth "in public schools and by private tuition."
Steadman immigrated to California in 1889 and later became employed as a private secretary to David Jack (1822-1909, a millionaire land developer, businessman and the man that popularized "Monterey Jack" cheese. In 1892 Steadman married to Dolores "Dolly" Gregg (1873-1956), with whom he had two children, Montague Gregg (1897-1983) and Vera (1900-1966). The couple would later divorce and in February 1908 Steadman remarried to Frances Josephine Chavoya (1874-1961), to who he was wed until his death. One further son would be born to the couple, Montague Bryant Jr., who died aged 98 in 2007.
Montague B. Steadman entered the political life of California in November 1902 when he won election to the California State Assembly from the 59th district. Serving in the session of 1903-05, he would be named to the committees on Agriculture, Military Affairs, Public Morals and would chair the committee on Dairies and Dairy Products.