Friday, September 20, 2019

Carolus Edward Kusel (1857-1921), Carolus Ford Voorhees (1820-1899)

From the Salt Lake Times, August 22, 1910.

   Featured on the Strangest Names In American Political History's Facebook page back in September 2015, Carolus Edward Kusel was a lifelong Californian who, following his removal to Oroville, became one of that city's leading figures. A member of the Oroville Board of Trustees for over a decade, Kusel also served two nonconsecutive terms as that city's mayor. Born of Jewish descent in Marysville, California on November 11, 1857, Carolus Edward "Carl" Kusel was the son of Edward Abraham and Bertha (Heilbronner) Kusel.
  Removing to Oroville with his family at an early age, Kusel's formative education was obtained in that city and began work at his father's stationery store while still young. After attaining maturity, Kusel became a partner in his father's business, which by the late 1870s had expanded to include cigars and books and other merchandise. Carolus Kusel would eventually become the sole owner of this business following his father's death in 1905, and continued operations until his own death in 1921. Kusel and his brother Emil also pioneered the olive industry in Oroville, planting an olive grove in that district and later erected an olive oil manufacturing facility, continuing with its operation for an indeterminate period.
  With his name established in the business sector of Oroville, Kusel made his first move into local politics in the early 1900s with his election to the Oroville Board of Trustees. He would serve a total of thirteen years on the board, and in 1906 made the pages of the Chico Record when he offered to donate a plot of land to Oroville, with a clause that it be used as the location for a town hall. In April 1907 Kusel won reelection to the board of trustees as a candidate of the Municipal League, and, as he had polled the highest voting numbers out of the board candidates that year, was duly elected Mayor of Oroville. 
   The second man to hold that office (Oroville having been incorporated as a city in 1906), Kusel's first term as mayor extended from 1907-1911. This term saw Kusel be a prime mover in the construction of a sewer system for Oroville, and in 1910 a contract was developed, at the cost of $120,000, for a complete sewer system to be built. Kusel's 1921 obituary in the Oroville Mercury denotes that he:
"Personally supervised much of the work, so keen was his desire to secure the best possible sewer system for the city."
  Kusel further aided Oroville with his backing of a "reinforced concrete facing" for the city's levee system that alleviated further flooding problems, and in 1911 was succeeded as mayor by George W. Braden. Kusel would continue on the board of trustees during Braden's mayoralty, and prior to the latter's victory began a war of words with Paul Reicker, a local businessman who had been a candidate for the board of trustees. Reicker, during his candidacy, alleged that Kusel had failed to deliver on promises made during his mayoralty, and even circulated pamphlets alleging Kusel's being "lined up" with the city water company and "saloon element". Kusel, in turn, lobbed the accusation that Reicker had fled from arrest in Oregon for "assault with a deadly weapon


From the Chico Record, April 25, 1911.

  Through April 1911 further mudslinging was instigated by Reicker, who accused the former mayor of owning buildings in the city's red-light district, whilst also referring to him as a "falsifier." Reicker would further vent his frustrations with Kusel when he threatened to sue Kusel for the damaging claims he had made about Reicker allegedly fleeing arrest in Oregon. By the beginning of May 1911, the conflict between the two men appears to have subsided, with no further reports on their feud being located. In October 1912 Carolus Kusel married in Sacramento to Minta J. Hulse, and later had one son, Carolus Edward II (1913-1987).
  Carolus Kusel was returned to the mayor's office in April 1915 for another four-year term, and in 1917 mulled the development of a vigilance committee in the city to prevent the spread of pro-German propaganda during wartime. His second term concluded in April 1919 and was succeeded by E.W. Ehmann. A founding member of the Argonaut Parlor, No. 8 of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Kusel remained active in civic affairs of his city until shortly before his death from pneumonia on January 1, 1921, aged 63. He was survived by his wife and son and was interred at the Jewish Cemetery in Oroville.


From the Chico Record, January 4, 1921.


From the "Story of the Dining Fork" by Joseph Tecumseh Henderson, 1927.

  Another "Carolus" that gained distinction through public service is Carolus Ford Voorhees of Ohio. Infinitely more obscure than the preceding gentleman, there is an extreme dearth of resources mentioning Voorhees, and further complications arise by the rather inconsistent spelling of his last name, which is variously given as Vorhes, Vorhees, and Voorhees. Despite this, it is known that Vorhees was a lawyer and in 1873 served as a delegate to the Ohio State Constitutional Convention from Holmes County. Following his service, he was appointed as a judge on the Ohio Court of Common Pleas. Born on March 3, 1820, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Carolus Ford Voorhees was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Gaskill) Voorhees/Vorhes.
   Resettling in Ohio at an early age, Voorhees was a student at the Hagerstown Academy in Carroll County, and following his graduation in 1840 turned to the study of law. For a time Voorhees resided in Steubenville, where he read law under Edwin McMasters Stanton, who was later to gain repute as Attorney General under President James Buchanan and U.S. Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln. Voorhes married in Millersburg in April 1843 to Elizabeth Jones (birthdate unknown) and later had four children, Carolus Jones, Daniel Doddridge (died 1878), Stanton Gaskill, and Elizabeth Arrabella.
  A three-time holder of the office of Prosecuting Attorney of Holmes County, Voorhees was elected as that county's delegate to the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1873-74 and served on the committees on Corporations Other Than Municipal, and Public Debt and Public Works. In October 1877 Vorhees was elected Judge of the Ohio Court of Common Pleas for the 6th judicial district, comprising Holmes, Wayne and Coshocton County. He served in that capacity from 1878-1883 and later died in Millersburg in November 1897, aged 79. Memorialized as a "good and safe counselor", a burial location for both Vorhees and his wife remains unknown at this time.

From the composite portrait of the 1873 Ohio Constitutional Convention.

From the Wellington Enterprise, November 10, 1897.

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