Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chadbourne Whitmore Perry (1876-1921)

From the January 6, 1909 Kennebec Daily Journal.

    Born into a prominent family in Fort Fairfield, Maine, Chadbourne Whitmore Perry possesses a flowery name that brings to mind a successful, affluent man of means. True to that description, Perry was for many years a insurance dealer in Fort Fairfield, and was a member of numerous fraternal groups in the Aroostook County. Perry would also represent Fort Fairfield in the Maine state legislature on two occasions between 1907-1911.
   The son of Henry Otis  (1829-1913) and Hattie Ruby (Witham) Perry, Chadbourne W. Perry was born on December 17, 1876. A distinguished citizen of Fort Fairfield, Henry Otis Perry was a Civil War veteran and insurance agent who occupied a number of political offices during his life including stints as selectman, school superintendent and member of the Maine legislature (serving from 1867-68.) The origins behind Chadbourne's unusual name remain unknown, and the spelling of his middle name is variously given as Whitmore, Whitemore and Whittemore (the first named being given on his 1917 draft registration.
   Chadbourne W. Perry would graduate from the Fort Fairfield High School in 1894 and in September 1898 married to Estella McDougal (born 1874) to whom he was wed until his death in 1921. The couple later had three daughters, Louise (born 1900), Maxine (1902-1991) and Katherine (born 1909). 
   Early in his life Perry joined his father in the latter's insurance business, eventually becoming a partner. Upon Henry Perry's death in 1913 he became sole operator of that business and also succeeded his father as agent for the American Express Company. Active in several other business concerns in Fort Fairfield, Perry also served as the director of the Frontier Trust Company in the 1910s.
  In 1906 Chadbourne Perry began tredding the political waters, winning election to the Maine House of Representatives from Aroostook County. During the 1907-09 session he sat on the committees on Mercantile Affairs and Insurance, and following his reelection to the house in 1908 served on the committee on Pensions. Perry would also have some oddly named company during this session, serving alongside Eldrean Orff, Verdi Ludgate and Beloni Dufour
   Returning to his insurance business after leaving the legislature, Chadbourne Perry also maintained memberships amongst several fraternal groups in Maine, including the Houlton Commandary of the Knights Templar, the Garfield Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons, the Knights of Pythias of Fort Fairfield and the Eastern Frontier Lodge, #112 of Free and Accepted Masons.  Perry died in Fort Fairfield on December 11, 1921, shortly before his 45th birthday, his cause of death being recorded as "chronic alcoholism." He was survived by his wife and was interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Fairfield.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vinal Garfield Good (1906-2000)

From the March 6, 1961 Biddeford Saco Journal.

   A prominent name in Maine politics during the late 1950s and 60s, Vinal Garfield Good was for over forty years an insurance and real estate dealer in Sebago, and in 1958 was elected to the Maine legislature. Good would advance to the post of Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives (serving during the 1961-62 session) and later won election to the Maine Senate for one term. Born on January 6, 1906 in Houlton, Maine, Vinal G. Good was the son of Walter Tyler and Olive Boynton Good.
   A student in schools local to Houlton, Vinal Good was a standout athlete in his youth, being quarterback of the high school football team and captain of the track team. He would go on to attend the Colby College (class of 1929) and following graduation took on a coaching-teaching career, being employed at high schools in Mexico, Maine and Braintree, Massachusetts. In December 1929 he married to his first wife Adalyn Goodwin in Berwick, Maine and five years later began a stint as Director of Physical Activities at the Natick, Massachusetts High School.
   Good turned to the study of law in the mid 1930s, enrolling at the Northeastern Law School. Earning  his law degree from that school in 1938, Good would establish a private practice and later put his profession on hold to serve with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division during World War II. Stationed in Colorado, Good was later a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps at Fort George Meade in Maryland. During his Maryland residency Good met Dorathy Anderson (1911-2007), whom he would wed in 1946. The couple would later become parents to two children, James and Jeanette.
   In the late 1940s Good and his wife established the Sebago Agency, a real estate and insurance business they would continue to run for over four decades.  Good first entered politics in 1958 when he was elected to the Maine House of Representatives. Serving in the 1959-60 session, Good would win a second term in 1960 and launched a bid for house speaker, spending several weeks traversing the state meeting with fellow representatives and memorizing parliamentary procedure. In January 1961 Good's hard work paid off, as he was chosen speaker by his fellow legislators.
   Serving as speaker during the 1961-62 session, Good left the legislature in January 1963 and in November 1966 was elected to represent Sebago in the Maine Senate, serving in the session of 1967-69. Following his time in state government Good returned to his insurance and realty interests in Sebago, and for three decades held the post of town meeting moderator
   Vinal Good maintained an active schedule well into his ninth decade, and, as a jogging enthusiast, was a familiar sight to Sebago residents with his red hat and stopwatch. In the year prior to his death Good was awarded the "Boston Post Cane" by the Sebago Historical Society, an honor bestowed upon Sebago's eldest citizen. Vinal G. Good died in Sebago on December 23, 2000 at age 94 and was survived by his wife Dorathy and his children. A burial location for both he and his wife remains unknown at this time, but is presumed to be somewhere in the Sebago vicinity.

Vinal and Dorathy Good, portrait courtesy of the Sebago Historical Society.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Oayma Joshua Colby Sr. (1906-1993)

Portrait from the Kennabec Daily Journal, March 25, 1941.

   Sporting a truly unique first name, one term Maine state representative Oayma J. Colby's life bears similarity to another Maine legislator profiled here, Bancroft Hussey Wallingford (1891-1975). In addition to serving in state government both men were lifelong Maine natives who had long term involvement in agriculture, with both making a specialty of orcharding. A graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in horticulture, Oayma Colby went on to work as an orchardist and for a time operated his own farm. Following his service in the legislature he would be affiliated with the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, serving as the Superintendent of Highmoor Farm.
   The son of Joshua William Small Colby (1876-1940) and his wife, the former Mary Ann Davis (1876-1942), Oayma Joshua Colby was born in Maine on June 4, 1906. Little is known of his early life or schooling, excepting notice of his enrollment at the University of Maine in the late 1920s. A member of that school's Agriculture Club and Varsity Winter Sports Team, Colby graduated in the class of 1929 with his B.S. degree in Horticulture.
   After leaving the University of Maine Oayma Colby began a three year stint as an orchardist with the W.S. Wyman farm in Winthrop, Maine. Colby married in Maine in November 1933 to Sylvia Morrissette (1910-1996). The couple were wed for nearly sixty years and their union would see the births of four children: Oayma Joshua Jr. (born 1934), Alden (birth-date unknown), Peter (1944-1973) and Maryann (1955-2015).

Colby's senior portrait from the University of Maine "Prism", 1929.

   Following the conclusion of his work at the W.S. Wyman farms Oayma Colby operated his own farm in Oxford County, and for several years engaged in orcharding and poultry raising. In 1936 he won election as one of Oxford County's representatives to the Maine state legislature and served during the 1937-39 session. Aside from his dates of service and the length of his term, nothing else could be located on Colby's time as a representative.
   At the conclusion of his legislative term Colby returned to farming, and for two years was employed at the Western Maine Sanatorium as its farm manager. His time there saw him oversee a vast farming complex, comprising
"A sixty cow dairy herd, eighty head of hogs, twenty acres of truck and field crops, and an orchard producing 2,000 bushels of apples."
   In March 1941 Oayma Colby was appointed as superintendent of the Highmoor Farm at Monmouth, Maine. This farm, part of the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, is still in existance today, and during Colby's tenure comprised over 220 acres of land and upwards of 3,000 apple trees. Colby would resign from Highmoor Farm in 1943 and was succeeded in the superintendency by W. Damon Hoar.  


Oayma J. Colby (on left), at a 1950 Oxford County Farm Bureau meeting.

    After leaving Highmoor Farm Colby returned to Oxford County and in the mid 1940s served as the Vice-President of the Oxford County Farm Bureau. In November 1950 he was elected as the president of that organization (serving during the 1951 year) and was also a member of the Paris, Maine school committee
   A resident of Norway, Maine in the latter period of his life, Oayma J. Colby died in that town on June 7, 1993, three days after his 87th birthday. He was survived by his wife Sylvia, who, following her death in 1996, was interred alongside her husband at the Riverside Annex Cemetery in South Paris, Maine.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Eldrean Orff (1860-1938)

Portrait from the Kennabec Dailey Journal, January 6, 1909.

   The Maine state legislature in the early 20th century has proven to be a veritable treasure trove of oddly named political figures. Amongst these unusual names is Eldrean Orff, a longtime Cushing, Maine resident who, in addition to holding several political offices at the local level, served two terms in the state house of representatives from Knox County.
   Possessing a name that sounds as if it belongs to a character on Lost In Space or Star Trek, Eldrean Orff was born in Cushing on December 1860, being the son of Payne and Eliza Burton Orff. Prominent in Cushing politics, Payne Orff (1818-1898) served as a town selectman for many years and was also a representative in the Maine legislature in the session of 1878-79.  
   A student in the common schools of Cushing, Eldrean Orff was a farmer and married Harriett "Hattie" Robinson (1867-1942). The couple later became the parents of six children, Willis, Hattie, Lilian, Audrey, Albert and Ralph. Following in his father's stead, Eldrean also served in several political offices in Cushing, including town selectman, assessor and constable. In 1908 Orff won election to the Maine House of Representatives and during the 1907-09 session sat on the committees on County Estimates, Elections and Indian Affairs.

From the Kennebec Daily Journal.

    At the conclusion of his legislative term Orff returned to Cushing, serving once again as selectman and in 1916 took charge of overseeing reconstruction work done to Cushing's "Back road". Orff won a second term in the Maine state house in 1918 and during the 1919-21 session was a member of the Salaries and Fees committee. Little information could be located on the remainder of Orff's life, excepting notice of his death in Cushing on December 29, 1938 at age 78. He was survived by his wife Hattie and was later interred at the Orff family cemetery in Cushing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tileston Edwin Woodside (1876-1967)

Portrait from the Kennebec Daily Journal, January 3, 1911.

   Obscure Maine state representative Tileston E. Woodside is yet another example of a small town lawyer who went on to serve a term in his state's legislature, and the 1911 Maine state house proved to be peopled with oddly named representatives, with Active Irving Snow, Corydon Powers, Beloni S. DuFour, Houghton H. Putnam, Ellsworth Chandler Buzzell and Zebulon Gould Manter serving alongside the man profiled today. Born on August 6, 1876 in Lewiston, Maine, Tileston Edwin Woodside was the son of Edwin and Sarah Adella (Wadlin) Woodside
   A student in the Lewiston schools, Woodside went on to study at the Bates College, graduating in the class of 1898. After being admitted to the Maine bar in 1903 he established his law practice in Lewiston, later removing to the town of Webster. Elected as one of Androscoggin County's representatives to the Maine legislature in 1910, Woodside would serve during the 1911-13 session on the committee on Bills In the Third Reading.
   After leaving the legislature Woodside continued practicing law, being a member of the firm of Newell and Woodside in Lisbon, MaineWoodside also married late in life, taking as his bride one Catherine Galvin (1880-1960) on April 20, 1936. Prior to Catherine Woodside's death in 1960 Tileston had served as a notary public in Sabbatus, Maine, and died in Lewiston on November 9, 1967, a few months after his 91st birthday. He was later interred alongside his wife and parents at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Sabbatus.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bliss Ezekial Loy (1887-1969)

From the April 3, 1936 edition of the Patoka Register.

   The vast annals of the Illinois General Assembly have produced many unusually named figures profiled here, and in addition to those elected there are an innumerable amount of men and women who weren't, including the man profiled today, Bliss Ezekial Loy of Effingham County. A farmer and dairyman of prominent standing in that county, Loy was a past director of the Sanitary Milk Producers for Effingham and was a two time candidate for the Illinois legislature, running for the house in 1930 and the senate in 1936.
   Born in Watson, Illinois on May 18, 1887, Bliss Ezekial Loy was the son of James H. and Minnie Avery Loy. A dairy farmer and large landowner in Effingham County, James Loy would serve as a state representative from 1904-05. Bliss Loy was a student in schools local to Effingham County and later undertook a two year teacher's course at the Austin College. For several years he followed a career in teaching in Dietrich, Illinois and would later remove to Chicago for a time. being employed as a commission warehouse cashier.
   Bliss E. Loy married in Chicago in June 1909 to Ida Cronk (1885-1981). The couple were wed for sixty years and their union produced at least six children, Doris Cronk (1910-1992), Dale Bliss (1911-1991), Faye Lorita (1912-2005), Evelyn Elizabeth (1915-2002) Marcella Mae (1918-1936) and Burl Avery (1922-1980).
   Following his marriage Loy removed back to the "old home farm" in Watson township, where he would raise his family. In the succeeding years he established his name as a leading farmer in the county, being a breeder of Holstein cattle and a founder of the Watson Farmers Exchange. Loy would also maintain a longstanding affiliation with the Effingham County Farm Bureau, serving as its president for several years in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
  Active in Republican party circles in Effingham County, Loy was a member of the County Republican Central Committee for two decades and a former township supervisor of Watson. In 1930 he entered into the race for state representative for Illinois' 42nd district and in that year's Republican primary placed third in a field of five candidates, polling 3,721 votes to winning nominee R.J. Branson's total of 14,854.

From the Patoka Register, March 1930.

  In early 1936 Loy again entered the political forum, this time hoping to win the Republican nomination for state senator from the 42nd senatorial district. His candidacy received a substantial write-up in the Patoka Register in April 1936, which noted that
"Mr. Loy's long activity in the Republican Party and in farm organizations has given him a large acquaintance over the District, and if nominated in the April Primary he will be a strong candidate in the November election."
   One of three Republicans vying for the senatorial nod in the April primary, Bliss Loy placed second on April 8, 1936 with 2,896 votes, over two thousand votes behind winning candidate Harry M, Henson. Henson in turn would go on to lose the general election that November to incumbent Democrat William L. Finn, who had represented that district since 1928.


From the Patoka Register, April 3, 1936.

   In the early 1930s Bliss Loy was named as a director of the Board of Sanitary Milk Producers, representing Effingham County. This co-operative organization could boast of over ten thousand members and supplied the city of St. Louis, Illinois with its "daily milk needs". He continued work on that board into the 1940s, chairing its committees on Sales and Transportation, and during WWII would hold the chairmanship of the War Meat committee of Effingham County, being appointed in 1943.
   After many years of prominence in Effingham County Bliss Loy died at age 82 on August 19, 1969 at the St. Anthony's Hospital in Effingham, Illinois. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Oakridge Cemetery in that city.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

DuFay Alonzo Fuller (1852-1924)

From the Illinois Legislative Directory of 1897-98.

    An insurance man based in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois, DuFay Alonzo Fuller represented Boone County in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly between 1897-1905. A lifelong Belvidere resident, DuFay A. Fuller was born in that town on February 21, 1852, being one of five children born to Seymour and Elizabeth (Mordoff) Fuller. Besides producing a two term representative and one term state senator in the man highlighted here, the Fuller family would also boast Charles Eugene Fuller (1849-1926), a circuit court judge and eleven term member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois' 12th district.
  A student in the public schools of Belvidere, DuFay Fuller married to Cherry Valley, Illinois native Jennie Robinson (1857-1895) on March 24, 1875. The couple were wed until Jennie's death in November 1895 and had one son, George, who died in infancy in 1887. Fuller remarried in 1901 to Blanche Merrill (1875-1966), with whom he had three daughters, Louise (1903-1994), Marian and May. 
    DuFay A. Fuller made his first foray into public service in the mid 1870s when he was named as a justice of the peace, and until the early 1890s resided on a farm. In 1892 he decided upon a career in insurance and became affiliated with the New York Mutual Life Insurance Company, serving as a district manager beginning in 1895. In 1896 he became a Republican candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives from the 8th district and in November bested Republican nominee George Lyons.
   Fuller's first term in the state house (1897-98) saw him named to several house committees, those being Agriculture, the Executive Department, Fees and Salaries, Horticulture, Insurance and Senatorial Apportionment. He would win a second term in 1898, garnering 11, 296 votes on election day. Serving during the 1899-1901 session, Fuller set his sights on an Illinois State Senate seat in 1900 and was successful in his attempt, polling an eight-thousand vote majority over Democratic nominee Henry M. Coburn.
   Taking his seat at the start of the 1901-05 term, Fuller would serve alongside another oddly named senator, Lennington "Len" Small of Kankakee County. The pair would develop a firm friendship that would continue for many years afterward, and following his election as Governor of Illinois in 1920, Small appointed Fuller (who had a been a staunch supporter during that year's gubernatorial campaign) as a state parole officer.

DuFay A. Fuller, from the 1901 Illinois Legislative Directory.

   Following the conclusion of his senate term Fuller continued work in insurance and real estate, and also held memberships in the Masonic order, the Belvidere Y.M.C.A board and the Odd Fellows lodge. Upon the election of Len Small as Governor in 1920 Fuller was appointed as parole officer for the district comprising Belvidere and continued to serve in that role until his death on March 3, 1924, just a few days after his 72nd birthday. The Freeport Journal Standard relates that Fuller was fatally stricken by a heart attack while walking home from his insurance office and died shortly thereafter. He was survived by his wife Blanche and daughters and was later interred at the Belvidere Cemetery.

From the Freeport Daily Standard, March 4, 1924.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Leviticus Tilton Richmond (1859-1922)

Portrait from the Chariton Leader, September 15, 1910.

   There were few men more prominent in late 19th and early 20th century Monroe County, Iowa than Leviticus Tilton Richmond, a citizen long distinguished in the civic affairs and political life of that area. A lifelong Iowan, Richmond and his wonderfully odd name would go on to serve as Monroe County sheriff, Mayor of Albia (the Monroe County seat), and was a candidate for both district court judge and U.S. Representative from Iowa. Further political honors were accorded to him in 1920 when he was named as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
   One of ten children born to Samuel and Sarah (Bell) Richmond, Leviticus Tilton "Tilt" Richmond's birth occurred in Cedar township, Iowa on June 11, 1859. Natives of Kentucky, Samuel and Sarah Richmond had migrated to Monroe County, Iowa fifteen years prior to their son's birth, and there resided on a farm. "Tilt" Richmond's formative years were spent hard at work upon his family's farm, which he would later recount during his run for judge. He attended the district school during the winter months and went on to study at the Central University at Pella from 1877-1880. During this time Richmond also taught school in Monroe County, and in 1880 entered into teaching at the Knoxville AcademyLeviticus T. Richmond married in November 1885 to Elizabeth W. "Lizzie" Malone (1859-1940), with whom he had three children: Frances Richmond Bickert (1887-1987), William Tilton (born 1890) and Byron E. (1895-1923)
   In 1882 Richmond turned his attention to reading law, and following a period of study in the law office of W. A. Nichole in Albia was admitted to practice in 1883. Richmond removed permanently to Albia shortly thereafter and soon launched his law practice. While mainly engaged in private practice, Richmond had a longstanding legal connection to the Wapello Coal Company, serving as its attorney beginning in 1888.
   In the years following his resettlement in Albia the name of L.T. Richmond grew to be one of the most prominent in the vicinity. Aside from his law practice Richmond would rise high in the civic affairs of the city, serving as vice president and cashier of the First National Bank of Albia, cashier of the Farmer's and Miners Savings Bank, was an executive board member of the Albia Businessmen's Association, and served as president of the Albia Interurban Railway Co. Richmond was also named to the board of trustees of the Knoxville Industrial School for the Blind in 1892, holding his seat well into the 1900s.
   "Tilt" Richmond first entered the political life of Monroe County in 1884 when he was named as Deputy Sheriff for the county. In the following year he was elected Sheriff and served in that capacity until 1888. He would later become a member of the Albia city council and also served a five month period as Mayor of Albia, his dates of service being unknown at this time. Acknowledged as one of Monroe County's leading democrats at the turn of the 19th century, Richmond continued to raise his political profile in July 1902, being chosen as chairman of the 6th District Democratic Congressional Convention held at Oskaloosa.
  In July 1910 L.T. Richmond announced that he would be a Democratic candidate for district court judge for Iowa's 2nd judicial district. During that election season he took to the stump, making a number of addresses through the district, relating his being in"favor of cutting down court expenses and favored a non-partisan judiciary." Richmond's candidacy was also given a substantial write-up in the Chariton Leader in September 1910, in which he was described as 
"A big, warm hearted man, firm in his convictions of right, true to his obligations and opposes men without incurring their ill will, because, while he is courteous, yet he is resolute, and never temporizes."
   As one of eight candidates (both Democrat and Republican) vying for the judgeship, Richmond faced an uphill battle. On election day 1910 he polled a respectable 11,641 votes but still placed below winning candidates Dan Anderson, Frank Eichelberger, C.W. Vermillion and F.M. Hunter. Richmond also failed to carry his home county of Monroe, losing to fellow Albia resident Dan M. Anderson by a vote of 2,017 to 2,338.


An electoral result from the 1910 election for the 2nd Judicial District.

   In early 1918 L.T. Richmond was induced to reenter politics, being urged by local Democrats to enter the primary race for U.S. Representative from Iowa's 6th district. In the May of that year Richmond's candidacy was highlighted in a large campaign notice in the Kellogg, Iowa Enterprise. As one of three Democratic candidates hoping to win the June 3rd primary, Richmond outlined his platform of "pure Americanism" during war time and noted that he had been mentioned as a congressional candidate on a number of previous occasions. In this notice Richmond hoped to be of aid to the American war effort in Congress, stating:
"When war was declared against Germany last April I resolved that from that moment I would do anything in my power to support our Government and stand back of our splendid army of young heroes, who are now so patriotically fighting our battles for the perpetuation of Democracy.....I have decided to ask the Democratic voters of the 6th district to favor me with the nomination for Congress, and if so favored, the platform on which I will stand for election will be one of pure Americanism, and the most vigorous prosecution of the War until Prussian militarism is forever crushed and the peace which comes will be a guaranteed and forever lasting peace, which will behold democracy triumphant over her foes."
From the Kellogg Enterprise, May 24, 1918.

   Also vying for the Democratic nomination were Patrick Leeny (then serving as Albia's mayor) and Buell McCash (1888-1978), a soldier then stationed at Camp Dodge. McCash, a newcomer to the race, had had his name put forward by a group of friends shortly before the primary occurred. Despite polling 1,719 votes on June 3rd, Richmond placed second, losing out to McCash, who received 2,213 votes. McCash would go on to lose the general election that November to two term incumbent Republican Christian W. Ramseyer (1875-1943), who triumphed by over 4,000 votes.
   Two years after his congressional run L.T. Richmond was selected as part of the Iowa delegation to the 1920 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco which nominated Ohio Governor James M. Cox for the presidency. Richmond continued to reside in Albia until shortly before his death. In November 1922 he traveled to Chicago to undergo an operation for "gland trouble" in his throat but didn't survive the procedure, dying at the Presbyterian Hospital in that city on November 21. His Cook County death certificate denotes his full first name of "Leviticus" and he was later returned to Iowa for burial at the St. Mary's Cemetery in Albia. One should note that Richmond's gravestone records his name as "L. Tiltson Richmond", presumably an error on the part of the engraver. 
   Leviticus Tilton Richmond was survived by his wife Lizzie and all of his children. Frances Richmond Bickert, Leviticus' eldest child, would go on to become a prominent Democrat in Iowa, serving as vice chairman of the Monroe County Central Democratic Committee for forty-eight years. She would also serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1940 and 1952. Bickert died shortly before her 100th birthday in October 1987

Richmond's death notice.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Twing Reuben Hitt (1847-1922)

Portrait from the Binghamton Press, November 3, 1913.

   One of the best things about researching some of these oddly named folks is the continual discovery of persons you had no idea existed. While doing further research on Beveridge C. Dunlop (a one term New York state assemblyman profiled here in June 2013), I happened across the abbreviated name of "T.R. Hitt", mentioned in the 1914 New York Red Book as having been the Prohibition Party nominee for the state assembly from Broome County. As luck would have it, Hitt's full name was revealed to be Twing Reuben Hitt, making him the first (and likely only) man with that first name to run for political office in New York State!
   A prominent lumber man and saw mill proprietor in Killawog, New York, Twing Reuben Hitt was born on April 21, 1847, being the son of John W. and Roxy (Smith) Hitt. Little could be found on Hitt's early life, excepting notice of his service in the Civil War. A 1963 edition of the Cortland Democrat records him as being sick in an army hospital in November 1864 and later notes that he was granted a twenty day furlough the following month. 
   Twing R. Hitt married on October 21, 1872 in Killawog to Ella Phetteplace (1849-1900). The couple would later have three daughters, Jennie (1871-1913) Clara (born 1881) and Alta (born 1883). Following Ella Hitt's death in 1900 Twing would remarry to Addie Hinman (1867-1947), who survived him upon his death in 1922.
   Around 1869 Twing Hitt entered the lumber business in Killawog and would follow that line of work for over three decades. Hitt's saw mill in that town was later remarked as having "cut a million feet of timber annually", but later reduced its output to about three thousand feet a year. Hitt's mill was later joined by a grist and feed mill, which provided "custom grinding" and the production of buckwheat flour. In the early 1890s tragedy struck when Hitt's mill was destroyed by fire, along with a "large amount of seasoned lumber". Not one to let a loss get the best of him, Hitt took stock of his losses and quickly erected a new mill, one:
"Fully equipped with machinery for sawing, planing, matching, lath and shingle making, and a grinding."
  Following the erection of his new mill Twing Hitt continued to expand his name through Broome County, erecting four stately houses in Binghamton and also built a grain elevator and sales room near the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad depot. 


A Hitt campaign notice from the Binghamton Press, October 31, 1913.

    Acknowledged as a prominent business leader in Northern Broome County, Twing R. Hitt's sterling reputation eventually led to his jump into politics in 1909. In that year he accepted the nomination of the Prohibition Party as their candidate for the New York State Assembly and on election day placed third in a field of four candidates, garnering 673 votes.
   In 1913 Hitt was again the Prohibition nominee for the assembly, and in that campaign season notices touting his candidacy appeared in Broome County newspapers. In one notice (the Binghamton Press article shown above), Hitt's candidacy attempted to entice religious voters, noting that:
"Mr. Hitt is the only candidate who dares except the brazen challenge to the Christian voters of Broome County, by pledging his support and vote against legislation legalizing Sunday baseball, which is but a leader to an open Sunday in our state."
   Cautioning to keep Sunday holy (and, evidently, without any amusement whatsoever) Hitt found a firm backer in local clergyman Robert L. Clark, who later wrote a political advertisement for Hitt in the Binghamton Press. In that notice Clark intoned that:
"God commands that we remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Mr. T.R. Hitt, the Prohibition candidate for the Assembly, is the only candidate who dares to stand on God's platform. Quick and Seymour are pledged to legalize the violation of God's law. Ruland is playing Good Lord and Good Devil for your votes. God says: "He that is not for me is against me."
   When Broome County voters went to the polls on November 4, 1913 it was Republican candidate Simon P. Quick who won out, netting 7,601 votes. Twing Hitt polled a respectable 1,278 votes but still placed fourth in a field of five candidates. Hitt would reemerge on the local political scene three years later when he became the Prohibition candidate for Broome county treasurer, but again went down to defeat.
   Twing Hitt continued to reside in Killawog until his death from heart disease on June 18, 1922. He was survived by his second wife Addie and two daughters and was interred at the Killawog Cemetery.


From the Cincinnatus Times, June 1922.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Crichton Brooks Holtzendorff (1886-1958)

Portrait from the University of Georgia Yearbook, 1907.

   Curiously named Georgia native Crichton Brooks Holtzendorff left his native state for a bright future out west, and following his resettlement in Oklahoma established a law practice that would continue for over forty years. In the decades following his removal Holtzendorff would go on to prominence in politics in that state, serving one term as Mayor of Claremore and in the twilight of his life briefly served as a district court judge.
   Born in Gainesville, Georgia on August 15, 1886, Crichton B. Holtzendorff was the son of Preston and Agnes Drake Holtzendorff. He would attend the public schools as well as Palemon King's School for Boys in Rome, Georgia. Both Crichton and his older brother Preston Werner (1884-1961) decided upon careers in law at an early age, with both enrolling at the University of Georgia. The brothers Holtzendorff graduated in 1905 and 1907 respectively, and soon after his graduation in 1907 Crichton Holtzendorff opted for a career out west, removing to Chelsea, Oklahoma to begin his practice.
  After establishing himself in Chelsea Holtzendorff entered local politics, serving as Chelsea city attorney from 1908-1909. By 1910 he had removed to Claremore, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Shortly after his resettlement Holtzendorff partnered in the law firm of Ezzard and Holtzendorff, and in March 1913 announced that he'd be seeking the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Claremore. On election day he emerged victorious, besting incumbant Republican mayor E.A. Church by a vote of 290 to 57. The March 21, 1913 edition of the Rogers County Leader reported on the outcome of the election, relating
"The sentiment in Claremore is well established for the elimination of graft and with C.B. Holtzendorff heading an able and courageous council Claremore will be a different place than it has been in the past."
    Holtzendorff entered into the mayoralty in April 1913 and served one two year term, being succeeded by H.H. Brown. Returning to his law practice, Crichton was joined by his brother Preston Werner in the late 1910s, together establishing the firm of Holtzendorff and Holtzendorff. Their firm would continue on for a number of years afterward and specialized in Real Estate, Probate, Corporation and Oil and Gas law. The brothers would also be retained as counsel for a number of Oklahoma based banks and businesses, including the First National Bank of Claremore, the First National Bank of Chelsea, the Cherokee Oil and Gas Co., and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Co.
   While several sources detail Crichton Holtzendorff's stature in Claremore public life, little could be found on his personal life. At some point prior to 1913 he married to Mary Delacy Crosby (1889-1963), with whom he had two daughters, Leta (born 1913) and Dorothy (born 1917).
   Holtzendorff returned to Oklahoma political life in January 1949 when he was appointed by Governor Roy Turner to a vacancy on the Oklahoma District Court for Rogers, Craig and Mayes County, this vacancy occurring due to the resignation of Napoleon B. Johnson, who had been elected to the state supreme court. Holtzendorff served on the bench until 1951 and in 1956 began a brief tenure as Municipal Judge of Claremore, serving until 1957. Holtzendorff died at a Tulsa hospital in July of the the following year at age 70. He was survived by his wife, and both were interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore.

Holtzendorff's death notice from the Daily Oklahoman, July 18, 1958.