Monday, November 18, 2019

Going Hathorn (1806-1875)

From "Pittsfield on the Sebasticook", 1966.

  A standout figure in 19th century Pittsfield, Maine, Going Hathorn had a hand in several of that town's business enterprises, being a lumber merchant, brickyard owner, and a founder of the town's first woolen mill. A central figure in the establishment of the Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield in 1866, Hathorn was also politically active, being a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention and in 1864 was a Republican presidential elector for Maine. Born in Sagadahoc County, Maine on March 28, 1805, Going Hathorn was the son of Daniel and Hannah (Gould) Hathorn.
   No information could be located on Hathorn's early life or education in the county of his birth, and by 1832 had resettled in Pittsfield, Somerset County, Maine. Soon after his arrival, Hathorn purchased a saw and grist mill from merchant Jesse Connor and through the succeeding years built up a lucrative business, sawing lumber and milling grain for the local citizenry. Hathorn would also operate a store in town, dealt in real estate, and was a pioneer in the local wool industry when in the late 1860s he erected the Pioneer Woolen Mill, the first of its kind in the town. Completed in 1869 and located on the Sebasticook River, Hathorn was affiliated with this mill's operation for only two years, selling off his interest to Robert Dobson
  Going Hathorn married at an unknown date to Mary W. Haskill (1812-1887), who survived him upon his death in 1875. The couple would have at least one son, William LaForest Hathorn (1844-1873), who was later to win election to a term in the Maine state house of representatives in 1870.
   An active Republican in his region, Hathorn served as part of the Maine delegation to the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago that saw Abraham Lincoln nominated for the presidency. Four years later Hathorn was elected as one of seven Republican presidential elector for Maine, again casting his ballot for Lincoln. Two years following his service as an elector, Going Hathorn became a charter member of the board of trustees of the Maine Central Institute, completed in 1866 and located in Pittsfield. A financial backer of the school in addition to his service as a trustee, Hathorn also donated the land on which the institute's Founders Hall was built, and developed a brickyard to aid in the construction of the campus's buildings.
  The latter portion of Going Hathorn's life saw him engaged in the manufacture of orange and lemon boxes near Bangor, Maine. A month prior to his death in 1875, Hathorn was afflicted by "nervous prostration", necessitating a stay at Maine General Hospital. One week after leaving the hospital, Hathorn died in Pittsfield on August 11, 1875, aged 69. He was preceded in death by his son William and was survived by his wife Mary. Following her death in 1887, Mary Hathorn was interred alongside her husband at the Pittsfield Village Cemetery. One should note that Hathorn's Portland Daily Express death notice (shown below) mistakenly records him as having served in the Maine legislature, obviously confusing him with his son, who did serve as a representative.

From the Portland Daily Press, August 12, 1875.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Marlboro Packard Woodcock (1823-1911)

Portrait from the Boston Globe, June 30, 1907.

  Lifelong Maine native Marlboro Packard Woodcock could count success in multiple fields during a life that extended nearly nine decades. A shipbuilder, bookseller, collector of customs, school agent and town overseer of the poor, Woodcock was elected to one term as mayor of Belfast, Maine, an office that rightly earns him a place here. One of several children born to Theodore and Rebecca (Packard) Woodcock, Marlboro Packard Woodcock was born in Searsmont, Maine on September 11, 1823.
  Woodcock's early life in Searsmont saw him as a student in the public schools, as well as at the Kent's Hill Seminary. He would reside and work upon his family's farm until his early twenties, and also taught school during the winter months in the towns of Washington, Union, and Belfast. By the late 1840s, Woodcock had joined his brother Hartwell in learning the trade of ship-carpentry, work that would take him to Coventry, Kentucky, as well as the Maine towns of Brewer, Thomaston, and Waldoboro. 
  In 1851 Woodcock married Searsmont native Lucy A. Howard (1828-1907), to whom he was wed for over five decades. The couple would have at least three children, Hartwell Leon (1852-1929), Frank Ross, and Gertrude M. (1870-1882). Of these children, Hartwell Leon Woodcock is of particular note, as he would gain distinction as an artist that specialized in landscapes and seascapes.
  Following his marriage, Woodcock resided in Belfast where he continued in shipbuilding, being remarked as having "made the moulds for the greater part of the vessels he built." He would become active in city politics and would hold several local offices, including overseer of the poor, town school agent, and from 1867-71 was deputy collector of customs for Belfast. In the 1870s Woodcock served three years on the Belfast board of aldermen, and in 1881 was elected as mayor of Belfast for a one year term. Woodcock's term saw "printed reports of the condition of the municipal affairs" of Belfast published for the first time in local papers, and in 1882 he declined renomination, citing his wanting to return to "private business".
 A decade prior to his election as mayor, Woodcock had purchased the H.G.O. Washburne bookstore in Belfast, a business that also sold wallpaper, stationery and newspapers. This business later underwent a name change to M.P. Woodcock & Son, with Woodcock being joined by his son, Frank Ross. Marlboro P. Woodcock continued with his business operations until his death at age 87 on February 1, 1911, having been ill at his home for several weeks prior. Widowed in 1907, Woodcock was interred alongside his wife Lucy at the Grove Cemetery in Belfast

From the Rockland Courier-Gazette, February 7, 1911.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Admiral Paschal Stone (1820-1902)

From "Our County and Its People: A History of Hampden County, Massachusetts", 1905.

   Sporting one of those misnomer "title as a first name" names, longtime Springfield, Massachusetts educator Admiral Paschal Stone never served in a naval capacity but still managed to land Admiral as his first name! A former superintendent of schools in Springfield, Stone occupied a seat on the Massachusetts State Board of Education for several years, and while this office places him squarely in the gray area of "sort of political figure", Stone's name can be found in several 19th century editions of the Massachusetts state manual with other members of the state government. Born in Piermont, New Hampshire on August 14, 1820, Admiral Paschal Stone was the son of Simon and Mary Blynn Stone.
  A student at schools local to Piermont and Royalton, New Hampshire, Stone also studied at the Newbury Academy in Vermont and in Fryeburg, Maine. After a brief period of study at Dartmouth College, Stone embarked on a career in education that would extend nearly six decades. Through the succeeding years, Stone held the post of principal in schools located in Southbridge, Millbury, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, and in November 1864 removed to Maine to accept the superintendency of the Portland city schools.
  Stone's residency in Maine saw him turn down the appointments of state superintendent of schools and principal of the Maine State Normal School, and his work in that state was later lauded by Bowdoin College and Colby University with honorary degrees. In 1873 Stone accepted the appointment of Superintendent of Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he would have considerable impact. His fifteen-year tenure in that post saw him guide the school system through a period of financial instability, and "by his ability in organization did much to bring the schools uninjured through this trying experience." Amongst the improvements made during his service, a public Manual Training School was established in the city, as well as a city normal school.
  Stepping down from the superintendency in 1888, Admiral P. Stone was named to the Massachusetts State Board of Education, where he served for an indeterminate period. Although his full dates of service remain a mystery, he is recorded as a member of that body from 1889-1895, and at various times was designated a member of the examining boards of both Harvard University and Bowdoin College. Stone would also hold the vice presidency of the National Association of School Superintendents and for over a decade was an editor for both the Maine Journal of Education and the Massachusetts Teacher. 
   In addition to his prominence in state educational circles, Stone was an author, seeing his "History of England" first published in 1882. Widowed in 1899, Admiral P. Stone died in Springfield on September 4, 1902, a few weeks following his 82nd birthday. He was subsequently interred alongside his wife Elizabeth at the Riverside Cemetery in Grafton, Massachusetts.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Clenric Henry Cahoon (1875-1957)

Portrait from the Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators, 1907.

   An obscure resident of Harwich in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, Clenric Henry Cahoon served four years as a town selectman prior to winning the first of two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Born in Harwich on February 4, 1875, Clenric Cahoon was the son of Patrick and Carrie Cahoon. A student at schools local to Harwich, Cahoon graduated from that town's high school in 1892 and afterward began study at the Bryant and Stratton College. After a brief period at that school, Cahoon became employed as a stenographer with the Enterprise Rubber Co. of Boston and later took on a teaching position at a grammar school for two years. 
  Turning his attention to law studies in the late 1890s, Cahoon enrolled at Boston University in 1897 and in 1901 was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. He would marry to Mertis W. Perry (1877-1960) in the early 1900s and later had four childrenDoris (1903-1966), Howard Clenric (1905-1975), Oscar (birthdate unknown), and Emily (1907-1918). 
  Following his admittance to the state bar, Cahoon established his law practice in Boston but practiced there only briefly, removing back to Harwich in June 1901. After setting up his practice Cahoon entered local politics, chairing the Harwich Republican town committee and in 1903 won election to the board of selectmen. He served here through 1907, and in 1906 was elected to his first term in the state house of representatives. The 1907 session saw Cahoon sit on the committee on legal aid, and after winning a second term continued on the committee during the 1908 session
   Little is known of Cahoon's life after leaving state government. He continued in the practice of law in his native town and died shortly after his 82nd birthday on February 12, 1957. He was survived by his wife Mertis and his children and was interred at the Island Pond Cemetery in HarwichIn addition to Clenric Cahoon's service in the state legislature, two other Cahoon family members went on to legislative careers of their own. His son Oscar served in the Massachusetts legislature in 1948-49 and Clenric's grandson, Howard Clenric Cahoon Jr., represented Barnstable County in that body from 1971-1991. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Methuselah Ludwig Steckel (1860-1935)

Portrait from the History of Ventura County, California.
"Distinctively a man of affairs, he has long filled a conspicuous place in the public eye, and as an active participant in important business enterprises, he has attained distinction in a field where sound erudition, mature judgment and commercial ability of a high order are required."
  You'd be hard-pressed to find a stranger name on the California political stage than Methuselah Ludwig Steckel, and the above description from the 1925 History of Ventura County, California gives a brief character assessment of a man who served terms as mayor of the city of Santa Paula, was a bank president, and in 1932 was an unsuccessful aspirant for the California State Assembly. The story of this curiously named man begins in Mulberry, Clinton County, Indiana, where he was born on September 15, 1860. The son of Joseph and Anna Maria (Ludwig) Steckel, Methuselah Ludwig "M.L." Steckel shares his first name with the like-named biblical patriarch who allegedly lived to the age of 969--the longest lifespan of any figure mentioned in the bible. While Steckel's first name is unique amongst political figures featured here, it also has a variation in spelling, being given as "Methusalem" in the 1886 History of Clinton County, Indiana.
  Steckel's formative years in Indiana saw him attend the common schools and also worked upon his family's farm. In October 1882 Steckel married in Mulberry to Carrie Webb (birthdate unknown), to who he was wed until her death. The couple's union produced two children, Elma (1884-1964) and Earl Joseph (1889-1939). An oil driller and fishing boat captain, Earl Steckel drowned in 1939 when his fishing barge "Spray" was struck by a thirty-foot wave during a storm. Following Carrie Steckel's passing, M.L. Steckel remarried in October 1917 to Nellie Vining (died 1944), who survived him upon his death in 1935.
  After attaining maturity Steckel left the family homestead to seek a new life out of state, and in the 1880s relocated to southern Missouri. Establishing himself in Camden County, Steckel operated a corn mill and sawmill for several years and by 1889 was remarked as a leading business figure in the town of Climax Springs. In 1892 Steckel and his family removed to Santa Paula, California, where he resided for the remainder of his life. Here Steckel would purchase a ranch, which through years of improvements, grew to house a "splendid residence", as well as nine acres devoted to growing walnuts and apricots.  
  In addition to accruing a "substantial annual revenue" from his walnut and apricot groves, Steckel made headway into several Santa Paula business concerns, including a number of years as the superintendent of the Santa Paula Water Company. He would also hold the presidency of the Grower's Warehouse Company and was a partner in the firm of Steckel and Page, a leading auto agency in Ventura County that dealt in Ford vehicles. This firm was acknowledged as being the first to "ship in a full car load eight cars in one shipment", this occurring in 1912. Steckel would add a further business feather to his cap in 1925 when he became a charter member of the First National Bank of Santa Paula and was named as its first president.

From the Oxnard Press Courier, April 23, 1924.

  M.L. Steckel began his political career as a member of the Santa Paula city council, where he served for an indeterminate period. In April 1924 he began his first term as mayor of Santa Paula, succeeding S.A. Bond, who had taken office in 1923. Although Steckel's full dates of service as mayor remain murky, he served consecutive terms through at least 1930, as he listed as the incumbent mayor in newspaper reports of the time, and in California's roster of state, county and city officials from 1924-1930. During his term in 1926, Steckel etched his name into local history when he donated land to the city to be used for a park. Steckel's widow Nellie later donated further acreage to the city, and this substantial plot of land was officially dedicated in September of that year, with the proclamation:
"We, today, in this hour dedicate Steckel Park and may it endure for centuries as a living memorial to Mayor M.L. Steckel and the city of Santa Paula."
  In addition to being a place for recreation and camping, Steckel Park also houses an aviary, home to over ninety different species of birds. After a number of years in disrepair, the aviary underwent extensive renovation in 2012-13 and still exists today. 
  Steckel stepped down as mayor in 1930 and was succeeded by W.L. Ramsey, who continued in office into the mid-1930s. In the 1932 election year, Steckel returned to politics when he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for state assemblyman from California's 40th assembly district. Shortly before winning the primary, Steckel's candidacy was profiled in the August 4, 1932 Piru News, which paid special attention to his philanthropic efforts in donating land for Steckel Park. As the Piru News related:
"After full and careful investigation, it has been decided that, of the three candidates in the field, M.L. Steckel is the best qualified candidate for the place. Mr. Steckel is a resident of Santa Paula, 'tis true, but during the forty years of his residence in Ventura County, no worthy effort for the upbuilding and improvement of any part of the county has failed to receive his earnest support. He has worked faithfully and unselfishly for anything and everything calculated to make Ventura County a better place in which to live. He has given largely of his time and money to that end."
From the Piru News, September 1, 1932.

  That November M.L. Steckel was defeated for the assembly by Democrat James J. McBride, who polled 9,309 votes to Steckel's 7,609. Ill health marred Steckel's final years, but despite health concerns still remained a potent force in Santa Paula civic affairs. In May 1935 Steckel was honored by the Santa Paula citizenry when he was awarded a special gold medal for his "meritorious service to the community", and rose from his sickbed to drive to the award ceremony. Shortly before his death, he was further honored by Santa Paula by having the street on which he resided renamed Steckel Road. Methuselah Ludwig Steckel died at his home on August 27, 1935, a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday. He was survived by his wife Nellie and two children and was interred at the Santa Paula Cemetery.

From the Oxnard Daily Courier, August 28, 1935.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Bellwood Chase Hawkins (1885-1955)

From the Modesto News-Herald, September 2, 1928.

  Modesto, California attorney Bellwood Chase Hawkins is the newest of several "-wood" suffix names that have been featured on the site, and despite a limited amount of sources mentioning him, was a leading figure at the Stanislaus County bar. A justice of the peace in Modesto in the late 1920s, Hawkins was subsequently named as police judge for that city, and after eight years in that post advanced to judge of the Superior Court of California, where he served for nearly two decades. 
  The son of Nicholas Andrew and Emma E. Hawkins, Bellwood Chase "B.C." Hawkins was born on September 21, 1885, in California. A distinguished figure in his own right, Nicholas Hawkins was a former member of the California state assembly, district attorney for San Benito County, and in 1908 took office as Superior Court Judge for Yolo County. A resident of Woodland, California during his youth, Bellwood Hawkins followed in his father's stead and began the study of law.  In 1905-06 Hawkins was a student at the University of California, and from 1906-07 undertook additional study at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
 Following further studies at Stanford University in 1907, Hawkins married in 1910 to Pearl Minniear (1889-1944), to who he was wed until her death. The couple would have one daughter, Myrne. After the death of his wife in 1944 Hawkins remarried to Aline Hardin, who would survive him upon his death in 1955. 
  Prior to joining his father and brother in the practice of law in Modesto in September 1917Hawkins held the presidency of the Modesto Abstract and Title Co., which later underwent a name change to the Stanislaus Abstract and Escrow Co. After a decade of practice in Modesto Hawkins was appointed as a justice of the peace for that city in September 1928, and just a few days following that appointment was selected by the city council as police judge for the city. Hawkins' appointment to the bench was occasioned by the death of sitting judge W.H. Rice, and after serving out the remainder of Rice's term won a term of his own as judge in 1930.


   Bellwood Hawkins entered into the race for Superior Court Judge of Stanislaus County in 1936 and in November of that year defeated sitting judge L.J. Maddux. Hawkins' nineteen-year tenure on the bench saw him preside over several high profile trials in the county, including the 1953 trial of Henry Simpson, a Modesto carpenter who was convicted in August 1953 for inciting his 13-year son Clarence to shoot an kill the boy's mother Vivian. Simpson would subsequently be handed the death penalty for his role in the shooting, with that sentence being upheld by the state supreme court in October 1954.
  In addition to his judgeship, Hawkins was a leading club-man in Modesto, being a past master of the Stanislaus Masonic Lodge No. 206, an exalted ruler of the Modesto Elks Lodge, and was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West. In March 1955 Hawkins took ill and was transported to a Modesto hospital, where on March 16th he died after having suffered "severe internal hemorrhages." He was survived by his wife and daughter and was interred at the Acacia Memorial Park in Modesto.

From the Oakdale Leader, March 17, 1955.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Vaudois Edward Handley (1864-1914)

From the San Diego Union and Daily Bee, July 12, 1912.

 Recently discovered via the 1907 edition of the California State Blue Book, Vaudois Edward Handley was a physician and farmer in Escondido who in the early 20th century ran two unsuccessful candidacies for the California state assembly. While his first name is certainly curious, Handley is also on a shortlist of unusually named political figures who've met their end in a, shall we say, strange way; in Handley's case being kicked in the face by a mule and dying a few days later! While his name and manner of death are certainly unusual, the spelling of Handley's first name is under scrutiny, being given as both Vaudois and Vandois in census records and modern genealogical webpages.
  Born in Corydon, Kentucky on July 23, 1864, Vaudois Edward Handley was the son of John Thomas (1839-1920) and Eliza Ann (Baldwin) Handley (1845-1881). While little is known of his early life or education, Handley is listed as marrying in Union County on November 15, 1886, to Emily "Emma" Wallace. The couple would have two sons, Wallace (1887-1891) and Owen Berry "Berry" (born 1888). Handley later remarried in 1895 to Anna J. Winston, who survived him upon his death in 1914. This marriage would see the births of three further children, Louise Winston, John Edward, and Eloise.
  Deciding to pursue a career in medicine, Handley enrolled at the Kentucky School of Medicine in Louisville, where he would graduate in the class of 1889. Following graduation he established himself in Sturgis in Union County and by the turn of the 19th century was still a resident of that town. In May 1901 he was elected as president of the Union County Medical Society, and by November of that year had made the decision to relocate to California
  Settling near Escondido, Handley later retired from the practice of medicine and engaged in farming. In 1906 he emerged on the political stage by announcing his candidacy for assemblyman from California's 80th assembly district. Running as a Democrat, Handley lost the general election to Republican Percy A. Johnson, 990 votes to 1,625. In the 1912 election year, Handley announced his second bid for the assembly, this time running as a Republican on an "extreme progressivism" platform. In a July 1912 write-up concerning his candidacy, Handley related that:
"I am a progressive on all issues--the initiative, the referendum and the recall...I believe in the election of United States senators by popular vote and would even favor election of senators in this manner."
  In that year's Republican primary he was dealt a second loss, losing to Fred Judson by a vote of 758 to 1,483. Little is known of the remainder of Handley's life, excepting the manner of his death. By September 1914, Handley had removed to San Diego and soon after his resettlement visited the ranch of his son Berry, located near that city. While visiting this ranch Handley was kicked in the face by a mule, inflicting injuries that necessitated a hospital stay. While under care at the Agnew Hospital in San Diego, Handley developed lockjaw (tetanus) and died several days following the initial accident on October 7, 1914, aged 50. He was survived by his wife, children, and father and was interred at the Greenview Cemetery in San Diego


Handley's name was misspelled in this notice from the American Medical Association.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Raup Wilson Miller (1904-1993)

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 14, 1953.

    A native of Clinton County, Pennsylvania, Raup Wilson Miller spent his formative years in his native state before journeying westward to California. Following brief residencies in Wyoming and Oregon, Miller attended college in California before embarking on a two-decade-long career as an insurance broker. A two-term member of the California State Assembly from Palo Alto, Miller later served as a district governor for the Optimist Club organization and published a book of poetry late in life. The son of Frank Ball (1879-1961) and Carrie R. Miller (born 1888), Raup Wilson Miller was born in Lamar, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1904.
  A student in schools near Salona, Pennsylvania, Miller also worked for his father (a painter and paperhanger) during the summer months. Deciding to attend college in California, Miller worked his way towards his goal, being employed by a railroad in Wyoming and a paper mill in Oregon. After reaching California in the mid-1920s, Miller enrolled at the University of California at Berkley, where he would meet his future wife Florence (born 1908). The couple married ca. 1926 and were wed for 67 years. Their lengthy union would see the birth of one daughter, Nicki Ann.
  Following his marriage, Miller and his wife put their studies on hold due to limited finances, with Miller taking work as a house painter. He continued along this route until he entered into the insurance business as an underwriter and company representative. Miller later elected to go into business for himself in 1934, operating an insurance office in Palo Alto with his wife. This business continued until the couple retired in 1954. 
   In 1942 Miller announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the California State Assembly from the 28th district. He would go on to win that year's primary and in the general election defeated Democrat Roy W. Sturtevant by a vote of 7,776 to 6,907. During the 1943-45 session Miller sat on the committees on Agriculture, Finance and Insurance, Labor and Capital, Military Affairs, Public Health, Universities and Colleges, and in November 1944 won a second term in the assembly, being unopposed in that year's election.  A member of the U.S. Coast Guard during his legislative service, the 1945-47 term saw Miller introduce a "fair employment practices bill" in 1946 aimed to deter anti-racial sentiment in the hiring of African-Americans, Chinese, Filipino, and other minority groups. Despite being endorsed by California governor and future U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, Raup Miller saw the bill shot down in a meeting of the assembly ways and means committee, which killed the bill 10 votes to 6. 

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 17, 1953.

   Miller retired from the legislature at the close of his second term and would continue his political career at the local level, serving on the Palo Alto city council from 1949-50. An active club-man in Santa Clara County, Miller was a Masonic lodge member in Palo Alto and for two terms in the 1950s served as a district governor for the Optimist International, a volunteer service organization devoted to community improvement, youth development, and service projects. Following retirement from the insurance business, Miller and his wife removed to El Dorado County, where Miller took on the post of manager for the El Dorado Savings and Loan Association, located in Placerville. 
   Late in his life, Raup Miller and his wife returned to college studies, and despite being over sixty years of age, he graduated from Humboldt State University in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Following this achievement, the couple undertook a lengthy trip through the United States, Europe, and Mexico, and for two years studied in France. A lifelong poet, Miller saw his first poem published while he was still in high school, and through his life continued writing. In 1989, Miller's wife and niece published these poems in book form, under the title "Musings and Meditations". He and wife later resided in Ukiah, California, where Miller died on March 17, 1993, aged 88. He was survived by his wife and daughter, and a burial location for him remains unknown at this time.

From the Ukiah Daily Standard, March 21, 1993.

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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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fabritus Reynolds Smith (1819-1898)

From the Weekly Oregon Statesman, July 23, 1897.

  A pioneer settler in the Oregon territory in the 1840s, Fabritus Reynolds Smith was a Rochester, New York native who would go on to serve two terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, and also held a seat on the Salem Board of Education for several years. Born on May 25, 1819, in Rochester, Fabritus Reynolds Smith was the son of John (1788-1853) and Elizabeth Johnson Smith (1786-1889). One of the oldest residents of Salem upon her death at age 102, Elizabeth Smith removed to Oregon in 1870 and for the remainder of her life resided with Fabritus at his Salem home.
   Smith's formative years in his native state remain largely unknown, and it is presumed that his education was obtained in the county of his birth. Embued with the pioneer spirit that struck so many young men in the first half of the 19th century, Smith heard favorable reports of settlement in the Oregon Territory. After becoming acquainted with Joseph Waldo, Smith joined the former's party that was to travel overland to seek out a new life in the Oregon Territory, beginning the journey in May of 1846. As the driver of the team of oxen in the Waldo party, Smith navigated the Oregon Trail and, after reaching Salem in the fall of 1846, boarded at the Jason Lee House. 
   Fabritus Smith's Donation Land Claim in the Oregon Territory comprised 635 acres, and his first home in the territory was a log cabin. He married in that territory in September 1847 to fellow pioneer Virgilia Eliza Pringle (1828-1875), whose family had arrived in that territory via the arduous Southern Route. The couple's marriage extended nearly three decades and produced at least six children: Virgil (1849-1859), Elizabeth (1853-1859), Valleda Wealthy (1855-1943), Lois (1859-1862),  Hamlin Fabritus (1862-1943) and Clara. 
   Following his marriage, Smith engaged in farming in Salem and was also employed as a teamster. In the early 1850s, Smith and his wife resided in a frame house that had replaced the earlier log cabin, until it was destroyed by fire at an unknown date. Around 1870 Smith had a larger "Italian Bracketted" farmhouse built for his family, which would remain in family ownership for over seventy years. This structure, later to be known as the Smith-Ohmart House, was later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
  Smith would take an active role in the growing community of Salem following his settlement, being a parishioner at the First Methodist Church for over fifty years and also served a six-year term as a member of the Salem Public School board. Smith would also have a lengthy affiliation with the Willamette University in Salem, serving as vice president of its board of trustees and was first elected to the board of trustees in 1858. Smith's tenure on that board extended until at least 1894 when he was seventy-five years old.
   Fabritus Smith entered Marion County politics in 1866 when he took office as county coroner. His total length of service in that post remains uncertain, and in 1875 suffered the death of his Virgilia. Two years following her passing Smith remarried to Sarah Elizabeth (Craft) Watt (1829-1907), a widow who would survive him upon his death in 1898. In the 1876 election year, Smith was elected as a Republican to the Oregon House of Representatives. Serving in the session of 1876-77, Smith won a second term in 1878 and during the 1878-79 session introduced a bill to "provide for the maintenance and regulation of the Oregon institute for the blind."
   At the conclusion of his second term in the statehouse, Smith returned to private life in Salem, and well into his seventh decade continued affiliation with the First Methodist Church and Willamette University. Fabritus Reynolds Smith died at his Salem home on October 3, 1898, aged 79. After funeral arrangements, Smith was interred alongside his wife Virgilia at the Salem Pioneer Cemetery.

From the Oregon Weekly Statesman, October 1898.