Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Leeman Brackett Wormhood (1881-1960)

 
From Madbury Its People and Places, 1968.

  In its long history, the town of Madbury, New Hampshire was represented in the legislature by two curiously named men, Eloi Augustus Adams (profiled here on November 29, 2019) and Leeman Brackett Wormhood, who is highlighted today. A longtime resident of Madbury, Wormhood was employed by the Boston and Maine Railroad, and also farmed in the aforementioned town. A multi-term selectman for Madbury, Wormhood served four years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives beginning in 1945, and later was a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1956.
  Born in Ossipee, New Hampshire on May 24, 1881, Leeman Brackett Wormhood was the son of Hartley Lord and Julia Eldredge Wormhood. He married Blanche Tibbetts in East Rochester, New Hampshire in 1902. The couple were wed for over fifty years and had a least one son, Leeman Brackett Jr. An engineer on the Boston and Maine Railroad for forty-five years, Wormhood was active in the civic life of Madbury, being a member of the Grange, the Unity Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and the Union Congregational Church. 
  On the political front, Wormhood served Madbury in several capacities, including a sixteen-year tenure as town selectman (1930-1946). From 1945-49 he represented Madbury in the state legislature, and from 1949-58 was the town supervisor of the checklist. In 1956 Wormhood retired from farming at his home in Madbury and later resided in a rest home in New Hampshire. In that same year, he served as part of the Strafford County delegation to the state constitutional convention, representing Madbury. Widowed in 1958, Wormhood died in Rochester on December 18, 1960, aged 79, and was interred at the Rochester Cemetery

From the Boston Globe, December 23, 1960.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Constant Sweeney Lake (1840-1917)

 

  The second posting for this new year takes us to Iowa and Constant Sweeney Lake, a longtime Marengo resident who was active in Democratic politics in that region. A veteran of the Civil War, Lake served as a delegate from Iowa to the Democratic National Convention of 1880 and six years later was tapped by President Cleveland as U.S. Pension Agent for the districts of Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakota Territory, where he served for four years. A native of Ohio, Constant Sweeney Lake was born in Mansfield on February 14, 1840, the son of Elijah and Susan Crothers Lake.
  A resident of Ohio until age thirteen, Lake removed with his family to Iowa City, Iowa in the early 1850s and here received his education. Desiring a career in law, Lake began study in the office of Edmund and Ransom in 1859, continuing until the outbreak of the Civil War. He enlisted in Co. B., First Iowa Infantry in April 1861 and later re-enlisted in the Eighteenth Iowa Infantry. Sometime later he was transferred to the Twenty-Second Infantry and concluded his service as an adjutant with the Twentieth Iowa Infantry. 
  Constant S. Lake married in the mid-1860s to Sarah Elizabeth Shepherd (1841-1897). The couple's three-decade union produced six children, Bertha Lee (1866-1937), Jessie Louise (1869-1949), C.B., Norma (1872-1951), Lallah (1874-1878), and Pearl (1884-1885).
  Following his war service, Lake resumed his law studies, reading in the office of state representative Rush Clark (1834-1879), of Iowa City. Upon completion, Lake relocated to Marengo in 1866, where he operated a practice with N.B. Holbrook. Sometime later Lake partnered with state senator and future congressman John Nicholas William Rumple (1841-1903), and their firm continued well into the 1880s. In 1880, Lake served as part of the Iowa delegation to that year's Democratic National Convention, journeying to Cincinnati, Ohio where Winfield Scott Hancock was nominated for the presidency.
  In 1886 President Grover Cleveland named Lake as Pension Agent for the districts of Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakota Territory. His appointment was profiled in the Sioux City Journal in April of that year and denotes Lake as "one of the clearest-headed lawyers in the Fifth district", and further notes that he was:
"Universally esteemed as an honorable, open handed, high minded gentleman of education and character. As a democrat he has never faltered, even in the darkest hour of the party's history. He was a delegate from the Fifth district to the national convention, which nominated Gen. Hancock for president, and has been active and influential in state politics." 

 Lake's tenure in the pension office continued until June 1890, when he resigned. He resumed the practice of law in Marengo and continued until the death of his wife Sarah in 1897. Following her death, he resettled in Marion, Iowa, where he lived with his daughter Bertha. He died at her home several days prior to his 77th birthday on February 7, 1917, and was interred alongside his wife at the IOOF Cemetery in Marengo. 

From the Marshalltown Evening Times-Republican, February 9, 1917.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Ledyard Romulus Tucker (1845-1920), Ledyard Park Hale (1854-1926)

 
From the Colorado Assembly composite photo, 1891.

   The first of two political figures named Ledyard, Ledyard Romulus Tucker was an obscure resident of Colorado who served one term in that state's house of representatives in the early 1890s. While little is known of his life, a small obituary published in the January 1920 edition of the Glenwood Post, helped significantly in terms of information. Born in Indiana on November 9, 1845, Ledyard Romulus Tucker relocated to Leadville, Colorado in 1874, hoping to gain his fortune in mining. He soon removed to Pitkin County, "being present at the big rush which brought Aspen to the notice of the mining world."
  In the years following his resettlement, he engaged in mining and farming and operated a mercantile store. At the time of his election to the Colorado legislature he is recorded as a cattleman residing in Elbert County, and in 1889 was serving as Elbert County commissioner. In 1890 he was elected to the state legislature and during the 1891-93 session was chairman of the committee on Stock, and was a member of the Fees and Salaries, Finance, and Ways and Means committees. 
  Later in his life, Tucker was a resident of Basalt and married in January 1898 to Alice B. Lessley (1860-1938). He died in Basalt of heart trouble on January 15, 1920, aged 74, and was survived by his wife. Both were interred at the Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

From the Glenwood Post, January 17, 1920.

From the manual of the New York Constitutional Convention, 1915.

  One of the standout figures in the Northern New York bar in the late 19th and early 20th century, Ledyard Park Hale served St. Lawrence County as both its district attorney and county judge; resigning the latter post to serve on the state board of charities. In one of his last acts of political service, Hale won election to the state constitutional convention of 1915, representing the 34th senate district. Hale is also one of the "old guard" strange-name political figures, his name first being located in a New York Red Book in the summer of 2000. For seventeen years Hale remained without a face to place with his name, with no photographs of him being discovered. That remained the norm until a chance discovery in 2017 of the above portrait in a 1915 manual of the state constitutional convention. Since that time two more rare portraits of him have been found, all of which will accompany his profile here.
  A lifelong New Yorker, Ledyard Park Hale was born in Canton, St. Lawrence County on May 17, 1854, the son of Horace Winthrop and Betsey (Lewis) Hale. A student at the Canton Academy, Hale earned his bachelor of science degree from St. Lawrence University in 1876. Fitting himself for a career in law, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin's Law School and earned his degree in 1878. Removing to Madison following graduation, Hale practiced there before moving back to Canton, where in 1881 he married Georgette "Georgettie" Bacheller (1856-1938), to who he was wed for over forty years. The couple had two children, Irma Hale Pfund (birthdate unknown) and Horace Charles Hale (1888-1942).
  Ledyard Hale entered the public life of his county with his appointment as assistant district attorney in 1881, an office that he served for twelve years. He pulled political double duty beginning in 1890 with his election as Canton town supervisor, an office that he would hold until 1894. In August 1893 he received the Republican nomination for St. Lawrence County district attorney, and that November was elected. He served from 1894-1900, during which time he:
"Became Canton's loyal and brilliant supervisor, District Attorney of the County, figuring in some of the most prominent cases in its entire history, and acquiring distinction for his exceptional ability."
From the Buffalo Evening News, April 25, 1908.

  Hale's two terms saw him secure convictions in the trial of Ogdensburgh's Frank Conroy who murdered his wife, and in the murder trial of Howard W. Burt. He retired as district attorney in 1899 and soon returned to private practice in Canton.  He was called to public life once again in 1902 when the office of St. Lawrence County judge became vacant, and in that year Governor Benjamin Odell appointed him to fill the seat. He was reelected to a full term of his own in 1903, and during his final two years of service (1907-08) served in the additional capacity of commissioner of the State Board of Charities. He held both posts until his appointment as counsel for the state Public Service Commission in Albany in April 1908. Selected by Governor Charles Evans Hughes, Hale's appointment was looked upon favorably by the New York Press, with the Buffalo Evening News remarking:
"The selection of Judge Hale for counsel to the Public Service Commission is cordially approved by the bar of the state as that of a lawyer both ample in attainment of learning and flawless in qualities of judgment, tact and solid sense that make him capable of rendering the kind of service desired in the official work of the commission. His salary is $10,000 a year and expenses."

 Hale was still in the position of the commission's counsel when he was elected as a delegate to the 1915 New York Constitutional Convention, during which time he served on the committees on Contingent Expenses, the Governor and Other State Officers, Public Utilities, and Rules. During the proceedings, Hale took part in the vigorous debate over possible minimum wage laws and old age pensions, and as chairman of the public utilities committee, recommended that public service commissioners be made constitutional officers who would be "protected from removal for political reasons."

From the Buffalo Evening News, May 3, 1908.

  After the completion of the constitutional convention, Ledyard Hale returned to Canton, where he continued to practice law. His final years were spent affiliated with his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, having first been appointed to its board of trustees in 1884. From 1919 to 1922 he was board president. In 1923 he retired as Public Service Commission counsel, and in the last year of his life was troubled by heart issues. On June 5, 1926, he suffered an attack of paralysis at his home and died shortly thereafter at age 72. He was later interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Canton. He was subsequently memorialized by the Potsdam Commercial Advertiser as one of the first citizens of Canton, stating:
"Judge Hale was one of those rare men who touched the world, touched men, and touched life at many sides. Rarely do public men, in long service, possess that strength and moral force to keep unsullied by the passing mob. Here was the cleanly man with character and accomplishment, whose entire life bears close inspection. There is no mar--the soul of honor, and in his dealing fair and just."

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Bloomfield Drummond Woolley (1876-1957), Bloomfield Holmes Minch (1864-1929), Bloomfield Jervis Beach (1820-1894)

 
From the Asbury Park Shore Press, October 28, 1899.

   A trio of Bloomfields is highlighted in the following profile, and it is interesting to note that two of these men with the flowery name served in the New Jersey State Assembly just one term apart! The first of these men, Bloomfield Drummond Woolley, won election to the assembly at the youthful age of 21 and following his two terms served over thirty years as Long Branch city assessor. Born on April 3, 1876, Bloomfield "B. Drummond" Woolley was the son of Thomas Ridge and Annie Maria (West) Woolley. A distinguished figure in his own right, Thomas Ridge Woolley (1841-1917), was a former undersheriff of Monmouth County who later served as director and vice president of the Long Branch First National Bank, and from 1879-96 was Long Branch's mayor.
   Young Woolley was a student at schools local to Long Branch, and in 1892 began a long career as a banker, joining the Long Branch Trust Co. He retired from his duties there in 1920, and upon his father's death in 1917 assumed the presidency of the Atlantic Engine and Truck Co., serving in that capacity until his death thirty years later. During young adulthood Woolley was a volunteer fireman with the aforementioned engine company, initially serving as its secretary. He was later a second assistant and first assistant foreman, and at the time of his first term in the assembly was company foreman.
  In April 1896 B. Drummond Woolley married Emma Kurrus, to who he was wed for sixty years. Following their marriage, the couple undertook a three-week trip through the midwest, and after returning to Long Branch had a family that produced three daughters. In 1897 Woolley's name began circulating as a potential candidate for the state assembly, and that October was formally nominated at the Monmouth County Democratic Convention. In November Woolley won his legislative seat, polling 2,774 votes, and after taking his in January 1898, was named to the committee on Rules. Just 21 years old at the time of his election, Woolley was remarked as the youngest man to serve in the legislature in the state's history. He won a second term in November 1898 and served on the committee on Game and Fisheries during that session. 
  A candidate for a third term in 1899, Woolley was profiled in the Asbury Park Shore Press, where it was predicted that he would be reelected by a large majority:
"The fact that Mr. Woolley has been elected twice to the legislature speaks volumes...He is popular with the young men of Long Branch, and will receive the support of many Republicans. Mr. Woolley's ancestors were of the Jeffersonian type of Democracy. Assemblyman Woolley entered the political arena before he became a voter. His friends predict his re-election by an increased majority."
Drummond Woolley in old age, from the Long Branche Daily Recorder, Apr. 24, 1950.

 When the polls closed in November 1899 it appeared that Woolley had won a third term, but as the night wore on it was revealed that he and other Democratic assemblymen had been overcome by a Republican majority. Three years after his defeat Woolley was named to the Long Branch board of health, and in 1904 was talked of as a possible nominee for Congress, but withdrew his name due to health concerns. He would serve several terms as a member of the Monmouth County Republican committee between 1920 and 1957, and in the former year retired from his duties with the Long Branch Trust Co.
  In 1916 Woolley was returned to another stint on the city board of health, where he served until 1922. He began a thirty-two-year tenure as Long Branch city assessor in 1925, and his long period was profiled in the April 24, 1950 edition of the Long Branch Daily Recorder, where he spoke on the possibility of a full reassessment of all city property that year. 
  The latter portion of Woolley's life saw him continue with his duties as city assessor and was active in several fraternal organizations, including time as Exalted Ruler of the local Elks Lodge, and as a member of the Long Branch Rotary Club. After decades of service to Long Branch, B. Drummond Woolley died at his Long Branch home on May 30, 1957, aged 81, He was survived by his wife Emma, who, following her death at age 91 in 1967 was interred alongside him at the Old First Methodist Church Cemetery in West Long Branch.

From the Asbury Park Press, May 31, 1957.

From the Bridgton Pioneer, November 5, 1895.

   As Bloomfield Drummond Woolley was beginning his first term in the New Jersey assembly in 1898, another Bloomfield had concluded his third term in the legislature a year prior. That man was Bloomfield Holmes Minch. Sporting a fine example of a 19th-century mustache, The name Bloomfield Minch was one of the most prominent in Bridgton, where he was a fertilizer dealer, banker, and politician. Elected to his first term in the state assembly in 1894, Minch served multiple terms in both houses of the state legislature. The second of three children born to Francis and Elizabeth (Tice) Minch, Bloomfield Holmes Minch was born in Hopewell, New Jersey on October 10, 1864.
  Minch's early education was obtained in Hopewell and later attended the South Jersey Institute. He graduated in 1883, and then took courses in business at the Bryant and Stratton College in Philadelphia, finishing in 1884. Settling in Bridgton following his return to New Jersey, Minch partnered with William Garrison in the firm of Minch and Garrison, soon to become prosperous in the sales of fertilizers, farming implements, coal, wood, and "agricultural produce." Additionally, both Garrison and Minch were incorporators in the Cumberland Construction Company, of which Minch served as vice president.
  In December 1886 he married Nellie Rabeau, to who he was wed until her death in 1896. The couple had three children, Robert Francis (1887-1930), Mary (birthdate unknown), Oleta (born 1891), and Alberta, who died in infancy in 1895. Following his wife's death, he married Marion Kenney (1881-1955) in 1906, who survived him. This second union would be childless.
  By the mid-1890s Minch's name had become one of the most prominent in Bridgeton, with he and his partner's business receiving glowing press in the Bridgeton Evening News. Some background on the history of their firm was given, with the News noting:
"The business in coal and fertilizers grew rapidly and soon they began the manufacture of fertilizers, the first of the kind in South Jersey. This branch of the business has increased now more than a hundred fold and their brands of fertilizers are sold are known all over South Jersey. The coal business increased to such magnitude that it became necessary to erect a monster coal elevator, with automatic machinery for unloading coal barges and for loading their coal delivery wagons."

 With their business booming, Garrison and Minch's firm also milled grain and later dealt in seeds, while also selling wagons and bicycles. Following his terms in the assembly Minch left this firm in 1898 to concentrate on his personal affairs, with Garrison continuing business alone.

From the Bridgeton Evening News, January 18, 1898.

  Minch's political career began in the late 1880s with his time as an election official, and in 1891 served as Republican chairman for Bridgeton's third ward. His business successes and activity in Republican circles saw his name bolstered for a possible assembly nomination. With his friends in Bridgeton urging his candidacy, Minch consented to run and formally announced his candidacy in July 1894, with the Bridgeton Pioneer reporting:
"Mr. Minch is one of the bravest of the young businessmen of this city and has made a success of his magnificent enterprises, which have added greatly to the value and importance of the city. Ever since Mr. Minch has been a voter he has been closely identified with Republican politics and has been an able and valuable worker for the cause of his party."
  In November 1894 Minch coasted to an easy victory, polling "a remarkable majority of 2,554." He was renominated for his second and third terms in 1895 and 1896, respectively, and after winning re-election served on the following committees: Banks and Insurance, Commerce and Navigation, Printing, the State Prison, and Stationary. He would also chair the committees on State Hospitals and Municipal Corporations. He was not a candidate for renomination in November 1897.

From the History of Trenton, New Jersey, 1895.

  Bloomfield Minch was called once again to public life in 1901 when he received the nomination for state senator from Cumberland County. The nod was widely lauded in newspapers of the period, with the Bridgeton Pioneer noting Minch's popularity was so that "not a ward or township sent a delegate in opposition to him" at the county Republican convention. Elected that November, Minch's first senate term began in January 1901, and he was soon named to the committees on Agriculture, Commerce and Navigation, and Game and Fisheries. All told, Minch served consecutive senate terms until 1910 and later served as chair of the committee on Corporations. He was President of the Senate in the session of 1907, and his long senate tenure was noted for his devotion to conservation and natural resources, with Scannell's New Jersey's First Citizens noting:
"Minch was the pioneer in championing and presenting legislation in 1902 which laid the foundation for the legislation that followed, creating the various conservation boards that have since taken up the work of conserving the timber lands and water sheds of the state. He was also author of the legislation which provided the fire lines for the protection of timber lands along all railroad tracks, which has had the effect of preventing the vast waste that had previously been created by the fires caused by locomotive sparks."
From the Bridgeton Pioneer, November 7, 1901.

  Early in his senate service Minch pulled political double duty in 1904 with his service as a delegate to the Republican National Convention that year, and in 1916 served as an alternate delegate. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1910 due to his appointment to the state board of equalization and taxes that year, his service extending until 1916. During the First World War Minch, despite being too old to serve, joined in the ongoing war effort by serving as a fuel administrator for the counties of Salem and Cumberland. The latter portion of Minch's life saw him holding prominent posts in a variety of New Jersey businesses, including the following
  • President of the Bridgeton Glass and Light Company.
  • President of the Parker Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company.
  • President of the North Bridgeton Land Company.
  • President of the Cumberland Building and Loan Association.
  • Vice-President of the Bridgeton National Bank.
 Additionally, Minch was active in several fraternal organizations, holding memberships in the Union League Club of Philadelphia, the Elks Lodge, the Cohansey County Club of Bridgeton, the International Order of Odd Fellows Cohansey Lodge, the Brearley Lodge of Masons, the Seaview Golf Club, and the Junior Order of American Mechanics. Both Minch and his wife were members of the First Presbyterian Church of Bridgeton. 
  After decades of prominence in New Jersey, Bloomfield Holmes Minch died unexpectedly at the dinner table of his home in Bridgeton on June 25, 1929, aged 64. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Bridgeton.

From Scannell's New Jersey's First Citizens, 1917.

From the Camden Morning Post, June 26, 1929.

From the History of Oneida County, New York, 1912.

  A leading lawyer in Oneida County, New York, Bloomfield Jervis Beach also served one term in the state assembly from that county. Born on June 27, 1820, in Taberg, New York, Beach attended schools local to Rome, New York, and would attend Hamilton College in the mid-1830s. He later enrolled at Princeton, and following graduation worked on the Erie Canal as a civil engineer. Beach decided to pursue a career in law by the early 1840s and undertook  study with Calvin B. Gay of Rome, and after his admittance to the bar in 1843 joined him in his law practice.
  After three years with Calvin Gay Beach left that firm and joined the firm of Stryker, Comstock, and Beach. In 1847 he was elected to the New York State Assembly, and during the 1848 term was a member of the committees on Grievances and the Judiciary. Beach also served Rome as its village president from 1853-54, and in 1863 Following his term, he formed the law firm of Beach and Bailey, which continued into 1874 and gained further distinction in a variety of civic endeavors in Rome. A trustee of the Rome Savings Bank and the Water Works Company, Beach served as president of the Central New York Institute For Deaf Mutes and was director of the Fort Stanwix National Bank, the First National Bank of Rome, and the Rome and Clinton Railroad.
  Bloomfield J. Beach died at his home in Rome on March 22, 1894, aged 73. He was survived by his wife Caroline and was interred at the Rome Cemetery in Oneida County.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Desoto Shelton Hollowell (1870-1951)

Portrait courtesy of the Texas Legislative Reference Library. 

  One of a number of oddly named Texas state representatives to be profiled here on the site, Desoto Shelton Hollowell briefly represented Milam County in the state legislature, and prior to his election was affiliated with a Farm Labor Union in his region. Born in Mississippi on January 14, 1870 (or 1871, depending on the source), Desoto "D.S." Hollowell was the son of Henry Harrison and Sarah (Foust) Hollowell. Removing to Texas during his youth, Hollowell resided in Davilla and later settled in Salty in Milam County. Hollowell married there in 1894 to Alice Safronia Williams (1878-1955), who survived him upon his death. The couple had three daughters, Annie (1898-1957), Ruth (1902-1979), and Myrtle (1906-1979).
  After a period in Salty Hollowell and his family relocated to Rockdale, where "D.S." spent the remainder of his life. A longtime farmer in that region, Hollowell was active in forming the Farmer-Labor Union of Milam County in the 1920s. He was elected as the union's secretary in 1922, and was influential in the "building and operating of the Farmer's Union Warehouse."
  Elected from Rockdale to the Texas house of representatives in November 1924, Hollowell took his seat in January 1925 and was named to the committees on Agriculture, Examination of the Comptroller's and Treasurer's Accounts, Labor, and Livestock and Stock Raising. Hollowell served less than a year, having resigned in December 1925, and was later succeeded by Sam Hefley, in a special election to fill the vacancy.
  Hollowell continued to farm in Milam County until health concerns compelled him to retire. He died at his home in Rockdale on March 2, 1951, aged 81, and was survived by his wife and daughters. Hollowell was interred at the Salty Cemetery in Milam County.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Javan Fox Clark (1852-1938)

                                       Portrait courtesy of the Lucy Bensley Center/Concord Historical Society.

  Possessing a unique first name, Javan Fox Clark was for many years at the forefront of political and business doings in his native village of Springville in Erie County, New York. A local sawmill operator, Clark was a church deacon and board of trustees member and entered politics with his service as superintendent of highways and village assessor. He earns placement here on the site for his time as village president of Springville, which he held for one term. Credit goes out to the Lucy Bensley Center and the Concord Historical Society for their aid in yielding further information on Clark, as well as the photos of both he and his wife shown in this write-up.
  A native of Ashford, Erie County, New York, Javan Fox Clark was born on August 31, 1852, the second of eight children of Frederick (1826-1906) and Corinna (Fox) Clark (1830-1913). He removed to Springville with his family at age 17, and in the early 1870s enrolled at the Griffith Institute in that village, where he excelled in arithmetic. Following graduation, he married on June 3, 1874, to Ann Elizabeth "Libbie" Churchill (1853-1925), and the couple's fifty-one-year union produced two daughters, Jessie (1877-1893) and Jennie Mabel (Clark) Glass (1879-1954). In that same year, Clark was named an overseer of highways for the town of Concord; his first public office.
  In the late 1870s Clark operated a sawmill at Morton's Corners, and in 1882 sold his property to Nicholas Bolender. Prior to its sale, Clark suffered a health scare in 1881 when he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth from his nose. After the sale of his mill, Clark assisted his father Frederick on the latter's farm, and in the mid-1880s is noted as dealing in "runners for log boats" on Main street in Springville. In 1901 he was a candidate for highway commissioner for Concord and won the election that November. He served in that capacity until at least 1903 when he garnered the Republican nomination for village assessor. Described as a man "well qualified to estimate the value of property", Clark was one of three assessors elected that November, and in the year following Clark and his wife were gifted a new couch on the occasion of their thirtieth wedding anniversary. A gift from friends, the couch was followed by an ice cream and cake social.
  Javan Fox Clark was reelected as village assessor in November 1905 and continued in that post into 1909. In that year he was elected as superintendent of highways, where he served until 1911. In March 1915 he was elected as village president of Springville, and soon afterward saw a proposition voted on that saw $2000 appropriated for the "purpose of purchasing and installing a new pump in the pump station of the village waterworks."

From the Buffalo Evening News, March 17, 1915.

Libbie Clark (1853-1925), wife of Javan F. Clark. Courtesy of the Lucy Bensley Center.

  Following his term, Javan Clark is mentioned as an employee at the sawmill of L.J. Shuttleworth, and in 1917 watched as his employer's building was destroyed by fire. Also destroyed was the company's planing mill "and all the tools and machinery." No lives were lost in the fire, and through the actions of the Borden Fire Company, adjacent buildings and lumber were saved.
  In June 1924 Clark and his wife Libbie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, a gathering that was attended by over sixty relatives and friends. The couple was gifted $100 in gold and were serenaded by piano and vocal accompaniment. Libbie Clark died one year later on August 27, 1924, and Javan never remarried following her death. The latter portion of Clark's life was spent devoted to working with the local Free Baptist Church, serving as chairman of its board of trustees. He was a church deacon for over thirty years and had first joined that church during his youth.
  Javan Fox Clark died in Springville on June 18, 1938, at age 86. He was survived by his daughter Jennie and was interred alongside his wife and daughter Jessie at the Maplewood Cemetery in Springville.

From the Springville Journal, June 30, 1938.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Ladurna Ballard (1836-1908)

Ladurna Ballard during his assembly term, 1882.

  Another in a long line of oddly named men who peopled the halls of the New York state assembly in the 19th century, Ladurna Ballard represented the town of Lebanon in that body for one term. A lifelong resident of Madison County, New York, Ballard was born in Lebanon on March 16, 1836, the son of Aylmer and Lydia (Utter) Ballard. Bestowed the curious name Ladurna upon his birth, Ballard was a farmer in Lebanon for the majority of his life and married in September 1882 to Fallie C. Hitchcock (1846-1916). The couple would be childless.
  A local political office holder in Lebanon, Ballard served that town as its supervisor on several occasions, was a justice of the peace, and served on the town board. In 1881 he was elected as a representative from Madison County to the state assembly, and during the 1882 session was a member of the committees on Agriculture and Roads and Bridges.
  Following his term, Ballard continued to reside on his farm until removing to another home in Lebanon, where he died on July 9, 1908, aged 72. He was survived by his wife Fallie, who, following her death in 1916, was interred alongside her husband at the Lebanon Village Cemetery.

From the Earlville Standard, July 1908.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Severyn Bruyn Sharpe (1857-1929)

 

From the 1915 Manual of the New York Constitutional Convention.

  A leading lawmaker in Ulster County, New York in the late 19th and early 20th century, Severyn Bruyn Sharp served briefly as Ulster County judge and in 1914 was elected as a delegate to the New York state constitutional convention. The son of George Henry and Caroline (Hasbrouck) Sharp, Severyn Bruyn Sharp was born on New Year's Day 1857 in Kingston. A distinguished figure in his own right, George Henry Sharp (1828-1900) was a Civil War Brigadier General, a former state assemblyman and Speaker of the House from Ulster County,  a U.S. Marshal, Surveyor of Customs of the Port of New York from 1873-78, and from 1884-85 was a U.S. Commissioner to the South American Republic.
  Being the son of a prominent New York family, Sharpe had the benefit of an excellent education, studying at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He would enroll at Yale University in the late 1870s, and graduated in 1879. Deciding to pursue a law degree, Sharpe enrolled at the Columbia University Law School and was admitted to practice in 1881. He soon returned to Kingston to join his father's law practice, and in 1883 joined the New York City law firm of Alexander and Green. He practiced there several years and later removed back to his hometown of Kingston, where he established his law practice. In addition to private practice, Sharpe served as the attorney for the Ulster County Savings Institution for an indeterminate period.
  Sharpe married in  February 1897 to fellow Kingston native Frances Payntar (1868-1949), to who he was wed until his death. The couple had one daughter, Katherine (born 1901). A former chairman of the Ulster County Republican Committee for three years, Sharpe was selected by Governor Frank S. Black to succeed Alphonso T. Clearwater as Ulster County judge in January 1898. This appointment, occasioned by Clearwater's appointment to the state supreme court, saw Sharpe serve briefly on the bench, and in November 1898 was defeated for reelection by John G. Van Etten, the latter's six-year term beginning in January 1899.
  Returning to his law practice in Kingston, Sharpe resided there until 1904, when he removed his practice back to New York City, where he specialized in "the legal interests of banking and railroad corporations." In 1914 he was elected from the 27th senatorial district as a delegate to the 1915 state constitutional convention, and during the proceedings sat on the committees on Contingent Expenses and Counties, Towns, and Villages.

From the History of the Class of '79, 1906.

  Following his convention service, Sharpe continued with his law practice in New York City, where he died on November 24, 1929, aged 72. He was survived by his wife Frances and was returned to Ulster County for burial at the Wiltwyck Cemetery in Kingston.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Syver Ellefson Brimi (1856-1936)

From the Weekly Wisconsin, October 11, 1890.

   Joining a short list of Norwegian-born political figures featured here, Syver Ellefson Brimi etched his name into Wisconsin history books in 1887 when he introduced legislation that would protect birds in his state, the first bill of its kind to be presented in the Wisconsin legislature. In addition to his one term in the house of representatives Brimi was an unsuccessful candidate for state railroad commissioner, and in 1888 served as a Republican presidential elector. Born in Lom, Norway on December 27, 1853, Syver Ellefson Brimi is recorded as having "an excellent education in his native land" prior to immigrating to the United States in 1869.
  Now in the Land of Opportunity alone, Brimi is mentioned as residing in Illinois for fourteen months, his places of residence given as both Chicago and Naperville. Around 187o he removed to Eau Clair, Wisconsin, and after resettling there furthered his education under the tutelage of Prof. Thomas F. Frawley. After becoming proficient in English, Brimi took work in the Northwestern Lumber Company, where he was a bookkeeper, and married in Eau Claire in September 1875 to Lena Larson, to who he was wed until her death in 1896. The couple had nine children: Carl Linne, Louie (1877-1883), Freddie, Marie, Anna (died in infancy in 1886), Anna (died in infancy in 1888), Ella, Louis, and Freda.
  After several years with the Northwestern Lumber Co. Brimi formed a partnership with Christian Larson, dealing in men's clothing, hats, caps, boots, and shoes. Their firm continued until at least 1881, and in 1884 was noted as a clothier in Eau Clair, and in November of that year received "the largest stock of seal skin caps ever brought to the city." Later, Brimi would be a partner in the firms of Brimi and Demorest, Brimi and Shervey, the Edsvold Clark and Co, and Jacob Bye and Co. Brimi also entered into publishing in the 1880s, being president of the Arbeideren Publishing Co., which published a newspaper.
  Brimi began his political career at the local level, being elected to the Eau Claire North Side school board, and in 1882-83 served on the city council. In 1886 he received the Republican nomination for the Wisconsin state assembly, and in November defeated Democrat George Daniels by a vote of 2,263 to 1,784. Taking his seat in January 1887, Brimi was named to the committees on Banks and Banking, Insurance, Lumber and Manufactures, and Lumber and Mining.
  Early in his term Brimi achieved lasting distinction when he introduced a piece of legislation that would protect birds in Wisconsin. The first bill of its kind to be introduced in the assembly, Brimi's bill would fine persons between $5 and $100 if they shot, trapped, or netted various state birds for "millinery purposes." Further particulars of his term saw Brimi introduce articles of incorporation for the city of Altoona, Wisconsin, and towards the end of his term was voted a Republican presidential elector in 1888, casting his ballot for the Harrison and Morton ticket.
  Following his assembly term, Brimi was a partner in the firm of Brimi and Demorest, "the Leading Clothier" in Eau Claire. In 1890 he was urged again to seek political office, and that summer was boomed for secretary of state in columns featured in the Eau Claire Press and the Portage Daily Democrat. By the end of July, Brimi's name was no longer considered for that post but was instead bolstered for state railroad commissioner. In August 1890 he was officially nominated at the state republican convention, being acknowledged as:
"A skillful and practical correspondent, a thoroughly self made man of affairs, well skilled in all that goes to make up a useful and valuable citizen."

From the Waukesha Daily Freeman, July 28, 1890.

  When the votes were tallied after the general election it was Syver Brimi who lost out, polling 124,140 votes to winning Democrat Thomas Thompson's total of 158,293. Tragedy struck Brimi in March 1896 when his wife of twenty years, Lena, took her own life while under mental duress. Despite this tragic loss, Brimi persevered and later remarried in 1910 Ellen Hanson (1868-1945), who survived him.
  Following his time in politics, Brimi continued with his clothing business and in 1901 took work as a traveling salesman with the Kahn Bros. clothing firm of Chicago. Around 1919 Brimi settled in Ashland, Wisconsin, where he spent the rest of his life, and died in that city on July 12, 1936, aged 80. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Florondo Schweitzer (1877-1953)

From the Sebewaing Blade, October 16, 1953.

  There were few men more prominent in Sebewaing, Michigan in the first half of the 20th century than Florondo Schweitzer, a leading business figure and politician in his region. Mayor of Sebewaing for nine years, Schweitzer was the founder of the Sebewaing Lumber Company, was a village councilman for three decades, and was active in church work and the local Masonic fraternity. A native of Canada, Florondo Schweitzer was born in Crediton, Ontario on September 14, 1877, the son of Charles and Christiana Schweitzer
  Removing to Michigan at age five, his early education was obtained in that state, and married on New Year's Day 1903 to Esther Davis (1882-1965), to who he was wed for fifty years. The couple would have one son, Paul. Several years after his marriage he was appointed as a deputy sheriff for Sebewaing, and in 1913 served as a circuit court juror. 
  By 1926 he had established himself in the lumber business, being an owner of the Sebewaing Lumber Co., as well as the manager of the Pigeon Lumber & Supply Co., the latter dealing in "Building Supplies of All Kinds and Paints and Hardware." In 1936 Schweitzer became sole owner of both the Pigeon Lumber and Sebewaing Lumber properties, and for two years served as company president. He sold the Pigeon Lumber and Supply Company in 1938 but continued ownership of the Sebewaing Lumber Co. until a few years prior to his death, operating under the name Sebewaing Lumber and Supply Co. In addition to the above, Schweitzer was a member of the board of directors of the Sebewaing Gas and Oil Company, and in 1930 was elected its president.

From the Sebewaing Blade, July 24, 1936.

  Active in the churchwork and in the fraternal life of his community, Florondo Schweitzer was for thirteen years secretary in the local church and was a member of the Wallace Lodge, No. 434 of Free and Accepted Masons. Additionally, both he and his wife held memberships in the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic-affiliated body. 
  Schweitzer made his first move into local politics with his election as a councilman in 1911, where he held a seat for nearly thirty years. In 1931 he was elected as trustee for a two-year term, and in 1933 was nominated for village president, a post similar to that of mayor. He was elected that March and, all told, served nine years in office, his final term ending in 1942. During his tenure, Sebewaing passed an ordinance in 1936 to "regulate the operation of public dances and public dance halls, in the village of Sebewaing" and in 1939 proclaimed the week of April 24th "Fire Prevention Clean Up Week", which called upon:
"All departments of the city, the Chamber of Commerce, civic clubs, schools, all other clubs or associations, and our people in general to take active part in the constructive program planned to make our city Clean, Healthful, Thrifty, Safe, and Beautiful."

  Refusing to be a candidate for village president in 1942, Schweitzer returned to politics the following year when he was appointed to the village council to fill a vacancy, and served for the remainder of 1943. Later he would win election as village supervisor and assessor, serving in the latter post until his death in 1953. Shortly before his passing Sebewaing celebrated its centennial, and in the summer of 1953 Schweitzer and his wife were named Centennial King and Queen, taking part in a Fourth of July float parade. Just months later Schweitzer died unexpectedly at age 76, and following his death on October 8, 1953, was mourned as one of the village's "best-known citizens." He was survived by his wife Esther, and both were interred at the Memorial Cemetery in Sebewaing.