Thursday, August 24, 2017

MacBeth Archibald Milne (1892-1978)

Portrait from the Oregon Democratic Voter's Pamphlet, May 1942.

  Oddly named Michigan native MacBeth Archibald Milne briefly entered the political forum in Oregon following his removal there in the early 1920s, being a Democratic aspirant for the U.S. Senate in the 1942 primary election. A World War I veteran, Milne is quite unique amongst the figures profiled here as he is only the second to have been a dentist by occupation (the first being Vermont legislator Rolla Miner Chase). Born on August 1, 1892, in Dundee, Michigan, MacBeth A. Milne was the son of the Rev. McBain and Louise (Atchison) Milne. It remains unknown as to why Milne was given the name of the famous Shakespeare play as a first name, and one's imagination can run wild thinking of what might have precipitated it! 
   Removing to Washington in 1909, Milne attended school in Ellensburg and following his graduation from that town's high school was employed in a number of different vocations, including stints working in a cannery, a furniture factory, a road paver and being a retail store clerk. Milne married at an unknown date to Elizabeth Shenkenberg, a resident of the town of Puyallup. The couple is recorded with Elizabeth's parents in the 1920 census and would have at least one daughter, Elizabeth Jane.
   A veteran of World War I, Milne served amongst the ranks of the 91st division, 361st Infantry. He attained the rank of Sargent and saw "active duty in all of its engagements." Upon his return home, Milne worked in a shipyard before deciding upon a career in dentistry, enrolling at the North Pacific Dental College in 1921. Following his graduation four years later he established himself in Portland, where he would operate and reside for a number of years afterward. 
  Milne's residency in Portland saw him active in a number of fraternal groups, and in addition to serving as President of the Portland District Dental Society in 1933 was also a member of the American Legion, the Masons, and the Friendship Eastern Star.
   In early 1942 MacBeth Milne made his lone foray into politics, announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from Oregon. Hoping to oust longtime Republican senator Charles Linza McNary, Milne's opponent in that year's Democratic primary was Walter W. Whitbeck, a WWI veteran and insurance agent. Milne's candidacy was profiled in the Democratic voter's pamphlet for Multnomah County voters that year, and as a firm booster for the policies of the Roosevelt administration noted that he would:
"Ask that a strong aggressive war policy be developed and maintained, and that incompetence and inadequacy not be tolerated, regardless of where it may be found."
  On primary election day in May, it was Walter Whitbeck who emerged victorious, besting Milne by a vote of 44, 089 to 25, 256. Whitbeck would go on to face Charles L. McNary that November and was trounced, receiving 63, 946 votes to McNary's 214, 755. Following his senate loss, little information could be found on MacBeth A. Milne, excepting notice of his continuing his dentistry in Portland. He later died in San Diego, California on August 12, 1978, shortly after his 86th birthday. He was returned to Oregon for burial at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

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