Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lieutellus Cunningham (1877-1950), Loutellus Meigs Stout Jr. (1924-2012)


    A special "Leap Year" profile for today centers on Mr. Lieutellus Cunningham, a resident of Polk County, Missouri who was named as a delegate to the Missouri State Constitutional Convention of 1922-1923. In addition to this public service, Cunningham was also a prominent attorney in Polk County for a number of years. A fair amount of research was done to find pertinent facts on Cunningham's public stature, and one work, in particular, came to my rescue in this regard...the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1923-1924. This highly informative book provided the majority of the facts here and also furnished the portrait of Lieutellus that begins this article.
  Lieutellus Cunningham was born in Bolivar, Missouri on October 4, 1877, the son of James and Elizabeth Bickel Cunningham. Young Lieutellus attended the Ash Grove Academy and later graduated from the University of Missouri. He began the practice of law shortly after attaining his degree and in 1903 was elected as the prosecuting attorney of Polk County. Cunningham was subsequently reelected to this office in 1907 and 1908, and in the latter year married Ms. Maud Metier. Two sons were born to the couple, Lieutellus Jr (born 1909) and William James (born 1913). Lieutellus Cunningham Jr grew to be a highly regarded attorney in his own right, serving as the prosecuting attorney for Camden County before his untimely death at age 40 in 1949.
 In addition to his law practice, Lieutellus Sr. was quite active in civic affairs in his native county, serving as the chairman of the Polk County chapter of the American Red Cross. He was also a member of both the Missouri and American Bar Associations and in 1922 was elected as a delegate to the Missouri State Constitutional Convention being held that year. An electoral result from that contest is posted below.




  In the years following his convention service, Cunningham continued with his earlier law practice and in 1927 was named as the Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, serving under Stratton Shartel. Cunningham held this post until September 1930, when he resigned to accept a position as a legal adviser in conjunction with the building of the massive Bagnell Dam on the Osage River. Lieutellus Cunningham died at age 72 on July 22, 1950, and was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Bolivar, Missouri. 

 From the West Virginia Blue Book, 1958.
   Prominent in West Virginia political affairs for many years, Loutellus Meigs "Lou" Stout was also blessed with a truly intriguing name! Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia on January 28, 1924, Stout was the son of Loutellus Meigs Stout Sr. (1871-1953) and Anne Van Diver Stout (1888-1974). His early life was centered in the New Milton, Doddridge County area and he is remarked as being a sheep and cattle raiser both before and after his time in politics.
  Stout was elected in November 1956 to represent Doddridge County in the West Virginia House of Delegates and was reelected to a second term in 1958. Following his time in the legislature, he served as Chairman of the Republican Executive Committee of Doddridge County from 1961-1963 and during the 1970s served as Executive Secretary of the West Virginia Farm Bureau. Stout also held the presidency of the West Virginia Wool Marketing Association and was secretary of the Independent Oil and Gas Association for a time.
   Loutellus M. Stout continued to be an active public servant well into his eighth decade, serving in the clerk's office of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals until his retirement in 2007 at age 83. After many years of service to his state, Stout died at age 88 on May 20, 2012, in Charleston, and was survived by his wife and two children. He was later laid to rest at the Cunningham Memorial Park in St. Albans, West Virginia.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Atlantic Abraham Moore (1834-1916)


   Known by his contemporaries as "Lank" Moore, Atlantic Abraham Moore was indeed named after the second largest ocean in the world! While this fact alone is worth mentioning, his political career is also of some repute. During his 82 years of life, Moore was elected to a variety of public offices in both the Kansas and Arizona Territories.
   Atlantic "A.A." Moore was born on September 15, 1834 in Ohio. As a child he removed to Illinois with his family and as an adolescent lived in Wisconsin for a time. In 1858, Moore and his older brother found employment driving government ambulance wagons from Kansas City, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The task proved to be arduous, and after one trip out the Moore brothers returned to what is now Durham, Kansas and subsequently bought out a trading post. Within a few short years, the area in which they had settled became Marion County, Kansas, and Lank Moore was named as the county treasurer in 1865. That same year he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and was reelected to that office in 1867 and 1871.  With his name firmly established in Kansas politics, Lank Moore ran for a seat in the State Senate in 1868 and handily defeated his opponent.
   Moore eventually relocated to the Arizona Territory in 1876 and settled in the town of Prescott. Within a short time, he established a large ranch and engaged in the raising of cattle, while also taking an interest in Arizona's vast mining industry. Moore also began involving himself in Arizona politics, serving as a Prescott City councilman for a number of years. 
  In 1898, the citizens of Yavapai County elected Moore to the Arizona Territorial House of Representatives, where he served from 1899-1901. He was later reelected to the state house in 1911, shortly after Arizona gained statehood. During his legislative service, Moore was named to a number of committees, including the Committee on Public Lands, Public Health and Statistics, and Agriculture and Irrigation. He was described in an 1899 Arizona Legislative Manual (where the below picture was located) as one of the "quietest members of the legislature, yet one who has been found by his associates as fully capable in all members of parliamentary procedure."
   The year before his reelection to the legislature, Atlantic A. Moore was named as a delegate to the Arizona Constitutional Convention, again representing Yavapai County. He died at age 82 on December 22, 1916, at the home of his son in Glendale, Arizona. A newspaper of the time lists A.A. Moore's cause of death as appendicitis. He was interred at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Yavapai County and was survived by his second wife Nancy Waterman Moore, who died in 1926 at age 78.


Atlantic A. Moore as he appeared in an 1899 Arizona Legislative Manual.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Uranus Owen Brackett Wingate (1848-1911)


  This wonderfully named gentleman is Uranus Owen Brackett Wingate, an influential physician and resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I first discovered Wingate in the Who Was Who in America, 1897-1942 edition, which was located in my high school library. I've been wanting to profile Mr. Wingate for quite awhile on the blog here, and before getting too in depth on his life, I must clarify the fact that he is NOT a politician......and I'm certain this is bound to elicit some bewildered stares from some of you readers! 
   I can see it now...."if he's not a politician.....why on earth are you writing about him?" An excellent question to pose, but, while he isn't an elected public official, Wingate did hold the posts of Health Commissioner of Milwaukee and Secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Health! Both of the latter positions are mentioned in Wisconsin government registers of the time, and, as he was the head of a state agency (the state board of health), it is that post that earns him a place here! 
   With that diatribe out of the way, I must mention that I've always been a bit hesitant when it comes to adding state officials that served in offices like "State Railroad Commissioner", "State Health Commissioner" or "Commissioner of Insurance". All of these positions sound non-political but are public offices within the perimeter of the state government, and the men and women who attained these offices were either appointed or elected to them. This places Wingate squarely in the category of "sort of political figure" if that makes sense!
    U.O.B. Wingate was born in Rochester, New Hampshire on September 4, 1848, the son of David and Lydia Thompson Wingate. Wingate looks to have been bestowed his unusual name in honor of Uranus Owen Brackett (1836-1899), a Berwick, Maine resident who served terms in the Maine House of Representatives, the State Senate and the Governor's Council. At age sixteen Wingate signed on for service during the Civil War, joining Sherman's Army, and later served as a member of a military railroad construction outfit until the close of the hostilities.
   After leaving the service, Wingate began pursuing medical studies at Harvard University and graduated from the Dartmouth Medical School in 1875 with a degree in medicine. He established a medical practice in the villages of Haverhill and Wellesley, Massachusetts soon after his graduation. Sources vary on the exact year that Wingate left Massachusetts, but it is known that he resettled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in either 1885 or 1886.
  Soon after his relocation, Wingate reestablished his medical practice and on July 11, 1889, he married Nellie West Schoonmaker.  In the year following his marriage, Wingate was appointed as Health Commissioner of the city of Milwaukee and served four years in that post. In 1893 he launched an investigation into the sanitary condition of the Milwaukee school system, and during the course of his analysis, found that six of these schools needed to be shut down due to their being in "unwholesome condition, owing to poor sewerage." An article mentioning his examination is posted below. In addition to his service as Health Commissioner, Wingate also served as the President of the Milwaukee County Medical Society and a visiting neurologist to both the Milwaukee County and St. Mary's hospitals.


                    This article appeared in the Feb. 1, 1893 edition of the Painesville, Ohio Telegraph.


  In the last year of his term as Health Commissioner, Dr. Wingate was appointed as the Secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Health. He served ten years as the head of this board and during his tenure proved to be a man of remarkable foresight and readiness. A New York Times article from January 1898 notes that Wingate gave an extensive response to a questionnaire filed by the New York Board of Trade and Transportation in regards to a "uniform system of quarantine in the United States." In his response, Wingate advocated the establishment of a new governmental department whose sole responsibility was the supervision of the country's sanitary and health affairs. 
  After reading this article (which has been posted below) one should take note that Uranus Wingate actively encouraged the installation of a U.S. health department nearly sixty years before the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare under President Eisenhower in 1953. This department was later broken up into two separate cabinet entities in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter.



   Wingate resigned from the Wisconsin State Board of Health in 1904 and in the years following his service authored numerous articles that were published in medical journals of the day, mainly relating to hygiene, diseases of the nervous system, and neurology. It is noted in the 1906 work "History of New Hampshire Surgeons in the War of Rebellion" that soon after his resignation, he established a "private institution near Milwaukee for the treatment of mental diseases.
  Uranus O.B. Wingate died at age 62 on February 19, 1911, as the result of pneumonia. In the course of research on him, I've been quite surprised at the number of medical journals and local histories that mention his public service and medical career, especially considering the overall obscurity of the man. I also must mention the American Journal of Public Health, Volume II, where most of this information was located. This work gave quite an extensive chronology of Wingate's life and times, right up until his death in 1911. 

    This portrait of Dr. U.O.B. Wingate was discovered in the "Notable Men of Wisconsin" 1902 edition.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eleazer Green Jr. (1846-1933), Eleazar Wheelock Ripley (1782-1839), Eleazar Kingsbury Foster (1841-1899), Eleazer Ball Parker (1818-1884), Eleazer Holmes Ellis (1826-1906), Eleazer Peck Huntington (1872-1954), Eleazer Smith Cady (1851-1939)


  In keeping with a local theme, the following write-up centers on an oddly named local political figure named Eleazer Green Jr. Green served a two-year term as Mayor of Jamestown, New York and was later elected as the Chautauqua County District Attorney. He is little remembered today (even here in Chautauqua County) and one of the few proper biographies mentioning Green can be found in the second volume of John Philip Downs' "History of Chautauqua County, New York and its People." I just so happen to have this three-volume set (published in 1921) in my possession, and I was overjoyed to find previously unknown facts on Green that are practically impossible to locate online. Green is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery under a small headstone that gives no mention to his lengthy public service to Chautauqua County and Jamestown, and a photo of that headstone concludes his article here.
  Green was originally born in the village of Remsen, New York on March 16, 1846, the son of Eleazer and Sylvinia Kent Green. Eleazer Green Jr. relocated to Chautauqua County in 1868 and that same year graduated from the prestigious Albany Law School. After returning to Chautauqua, he found employment as a law office clerk and in 1870 he established his own law practice, continuing in this vocation for decades afterward. He married in 1873 to Ms. Mary E. Brown, who predeceased him in death on March 11, 1900. The couple also had three children, Edward (died 1961), Ella (died 1942) and Clara (died 1957).
  Green received his first taste at public office in 1875 when he was elected as clerk of the Village of Jamestown, serving one year in this post. The village of Jamestown was incorporated as a city in 1886 and eight years later Eleazer Green Jr was elected as the city's 2nd mayor. His two-year mayoral term ended in 1896 and that same year won election to the office of District Attorney for Chautauqua County. Downs' "History of Chautauqua County" gives mention that during his tenure as district attorney, Green "was a terror to the criminal class, allowing nothing to swerve him from the full performance of his duty" and also notes that in his eight years in office, Green prosecuted five murder cases, and secured a conviction for every one of them!
   
                      This portrait of Eleazer Green was featured in the 1895 New York Red Book.

   During his later years, Green served as a trustee of the James Prendergast Library Association and also took an active interest in the fish population of Chautauqua Lake. Using his own funds, Green developed a study on the muskellunge or "muskie", a large freshwater fish that makes its home in Chautauqua Lake. During the course of his research, Green learned of the spawning habits and other aspects of this fish, and through numerous experiments (both by himself and with others) proved that the muskie "could be hatched through artificial means". Green is also mentioned as a "farsighted investor" in the 1898 work "The Men of New York" and this book gives notice of his purchase and development of swampland on the northern portion of Chautauqua Lake. This swampy area of our county was eventually turned into various lakefront properties and was called Greenhurst-on-Chautauqua (now referred to as Greenhurst) and received its name in honor of Eleazer!
  Green died at his Broadhead Avenue home in Jamestown on November 26, 1933. He was nearly 88 years old and was memorialized in his Jamestown Post Journal obituary as the "dean of the legal profession of Jamestown and Chautauqua County". According to the aforementioned obituary, his death was the result of a "sudden and entirely unexpected stroke." A copy of Green's death certificate (courtesy of the good people at the Lakeview Cemetery Association) is located below.


  To close this article, here is the picture of Eleazer Green's headstone that I took earlier today at Lakeview Cemetery. You'll notice that it gives no mention of his tenure as Jamestown's Mayor or as District Attorney, and is quite modest considering the public stature of the man buried beneath it!

                                         Eleazer Green, Mayor of Jamestown, NY, 1894-1896.

    This obituary of Eleazer Green Jr. appeared in the "The Grape Belt and Chautauqua Farmer" in 1933.

Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

  A decorated figure during the War of 1812, New Hampshire born Eleazar Wheelock Ripley served one term in that state's legislature prior to his military service, and during the aforementioned hostilities saw action at the Battle of Lundy's Lane, the Second Battle of Sackett's Harbor and the Siege of Fort Erie. He would attain the rank of Major General by the time of his discharge and following his service removed to Louisiana, and in 1835 he began the first of two terms in the U.S House of Representatives. While much has been written about Ripley's military career since his death, this brief article will focus more on his political career than his time in the service.
  Receiving his name in honor of his maternal grandfather, Dartmouth College president Eleazer Wheelock (1711-1779), Eleazar Wheelock Ripley was born in Hanover, New Hampshire on April 15, 1782, the son of the Rev. Sylvanus and Abigail (Wheelock) Ripley. A  graduate of Dartmouth in the class of 1800, Ripley would begin a law practice in what is now Kennebec County, Maine and in 1807 began his political career by winning a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Just 25 years old at the time of his service, he served until 1809 and won a second term in 1811, serving in the 1812 session as Speaker of the House
  Following this session Ripley would later have a brief turn as a state senator, resigning to accept a commission as Lieutenant Colonel in the 21st Infantry. His service in the War of 1812 would see him in action at the Battles of Sackett's Harbor, Crysler's Farm and York, being wounded at the last named battle. Ripley was promoted to Colonel in 1813 and Lieutenant Colonel the year following, and further distinguished himself at the Battles of Lundy's Lane and the Siege of Fort Erie, where he was shot in the neck. In March 1814 he was brevetted Major General and in November of that year was bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal (a precursor to the Medal of Honor) for his service in the war.
  After resigning from the army in 1820 Ripley removed to East Feliciana, Lousiana, where he resumed the practice of law. He represented that area in the Louisiana state senate in 1832-33 and in 1834 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first of two terms. He died in office on March 2, 1839, at age 56, and was later interred at the Locust Grove Cemetery in West Feliciana Parish. 

Portrait from the History of the Class of 1863, Yale College, 1905.

  A native of Connecticut, Eleazar Kingsbury Foster made his political mark in Florida, where he served as State's Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit and, later, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Born in New Haven on October 31, 1841, Foster was the son of Eleazar Kingsbury Foster and the former Mary Codrington. A distinguished figure in his own right, Eleazer K. Foster Sr. (1813-1877) was a leading lawyer and Yale graduate (class of 1834) who served multiple terms as a probate judge in New Haven and for a period of 22 years (1855-77) was State's Attorney for New Haven County. In addition to those offices, Foster would also serve two terms in the Connecticut legislature, being speaker of the house during the 1865-66 session.
  A student at the Collegiate and Commercial Insitute of New Haven, Eleazar K. Foster would, like his father, attend Yale University. Graduating in the class of 1863, Foster later studied law and was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1865. Out of health concerns, he left Connecticut for Florida in 1866, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Following his removal Foster engaged in farming in St. Augustine and around 1867 entered into his first political office, having been named as the collector for the port of St. Augustine.
  In 1868 Foster was appointed as State's Attorney for Florida's 4th Judicial Circuit, serving until 1870, when he resigned due to ill health. By 1871 he had resettled in Jacksonville, where he resumed his law practice and married in November 1874 to Mary G. Benedict, to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have three children, Eleazer Kingsbury (born 1875), Mary Benedict (born 1880) and Emma Harris (born 1882).
  Following his marriage, Foster and his family resided in Sanford, Orange County, Florida and in 1881 achieved his highest degree of political prominence when he was appointed as State Superintendent of Public Instruction by Governor William D. Bloxham. Foster's tenure in that post extended until 1884, and during his term advocated that a "state uniform series of textbooks be adopted", and that county school superintendents "should keep proper records and make full and complete reports" to the Florida secretary of state. Period sources also relate that Foster "did much to elevate the educational standard of the state" by establishing new normal schools and teacher's institutes.
  Foster resigned as superintendent in 1884 and in the year following was appointed as circuit court judge for Florida's 7th judicial district, serving on the bench until his resignation in 1887. The latter year's of Foster's life saw him practicing law in Sanford, as well as being retained as counsel for several Florida railroads. In 1899 Foster underwent the amputation of a leg and died at a New Haven hospital on December 8, 1899, aged 58. A burial location for both he and his wife remains unknown at this time.

Portrait from the Gazetteer of Grafton County, New Hampshire, 1886.

   A  member of both houses of the New Hampshire legislature from Grafton County, Eleazer Ball Parker was born in Lisbon, New Hampshire on December 10, 1818, the son of multi-term state representative Levi (1792-1865) and Phebe (Ball) Parker. Young Eleazer attended school in Sugar Hill and later studied at a Newbury, Vermont seminary. He began teaching school at age 18 and in September 1841 married to Esther Bowles (1818-1900), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have at least four children, including Osman, Phebe, Wilbur Fiske, and Freddie. 
  Following his marriage, Eleazer joined with his brothers Silas and Pratt in a leather tannery business that later manufactured boots and shoes. He continued in that employ until his removal to Franconia in 1846, whereafter he operated a general merchandise store for a number of years. This business would later be operated by Parker's sons, under the firm name "Parker Brothers". In addition to that business, Eleazer Ball Parker was a timber dealer, a member of the Moody, Priest, and Co. potato starch manufacturing firm, and a past director of the Littleton, New Hampshire National Bank.
  Eleazer B. Parker entered the political life of Franconia in 1852 when he began a two-decade-long tenure as town clerk. He represented Franconia in the New Hampshire legislature from 1861-62 and from 1873-74 was a member of the state senate from the 12th senatorial district. Parker died in Franconia on March 12, 1884, aged 65 and was shortly thereafter interred at the Sunny Side Cemetery in that city.

Portrait courtesy of www.ci.greenbay.wi.us

  Another "Eleazer" that went on to political repute is Eleazer Holmes Ellis, a lifelong Wisconsin resident who in the early 1860s served as Mayor of Green Bay and was later a state circuit court judge for several years. Born in Preble, Michigan Territory (now Wisconsin) on August 26, 1826, Eleazer Holmes "E.H." Ellis was the son of newspaper editor Albert Gallatin Ellis, a publisher of the Green Bay Intelligencer, remarked as being the first newspaper to be published west of Lake Michigan. Albert Ellis would also distinguish himself in territorial politics, being a member of the Wisconsin Territorial legislature from 1841-43 and house speaker in two of those sessions.
  Young Eleazer's early education was obtained in both "pioneer schools" and private tutors hired by his father. Prior to Wisconsin gaining statehood in 1848, Eleazer H. Ellis embarked upon the study of law under future Wisconsin Territorial Attorney General Henry S. Baird, known as the "father of the Wisconsin bar." Ellis was admitted to the bar in 1847 and in 1850 married in Green Bay to Harriett Sovina Gilbert. The couple were married for only four years prior to Harriett's death in 1854 at age 23 and would have two sons, Albert Gallatin (1851-1888) and Gilbert (1852-1860). Following her death, Ellis remarried in 1858 in Illinois to Eliza Chappel, with whom he had a further seven children.
  E. H. Ellis began his law practice in Manitowoc, where he remained for two years. He would return to Green Bay in the mid-1850s and for many years afterward operated his law practice, both alone and with partners. In 1859 was elected as Mayor of Green Bay, serving for one term in 1860. He was returned to public office in 1871 when he was elected as circuit court judge for Wisconsin's 10th judicial district and served eight years on the bench, retiring in 1879 to return to his law practice. In addition to his mayoralty and judgeship, Ellis also ran two unsuccessful candidacies for associate justice of the state supreme court in 1866 and 1891
  Following the death of his second wife in 1878 Ellis remarried in 1881 to Ruth Gillette, to whom he was wed until his death. Even in his twilight years, Ellis remained active in public service, being appointed as U.S. Postmaster of Green Bay in 1896. He served until 1900 and died in Green Bay on December 10, 1906, aged 80, and was interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in that city.

From the Potter Enterprise, October 7, 1954.

  Potter County, Pennsylvania native Eleazer Peck Huntington had fleeting involvement in  Keystone State politics in the 1910s, being a one-term state representative (having earlier been an unsuccessful candidate for that body). A blacksmith, harness maker, and supply store owner in Coudersport, Huntington lost his life in a car accident at age 82, succumbing to his injuries at a local hospital. A lifelong Potter County native, Eleazer Peck Huntington was born in Bingham on June 9, 1872, a son of Frederick P. Huntington.
  Receiving his name in honor of his paternal grandfather, Methodist minister Eleazer Peck Huntington (1817-1887), young Eleazer studied at the Mansfield Normal School and following the completion of his school was engaged in a number of different vocations, including farming in Wyoming County, New York, carriage and harness-making, blacksmithing, and was the owner of the Eulalia Mills four and feed mill.
  In 1910 Huntington entered into the race for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Potter County, running as the Prohibition Party candidate. He would lose that election to Democrat Joseph Rumsey, who polled 1,953 votes to his own 228. Huntington attempted another run for the legislature in 1918 (this time on the Republican ticket) and was this time successful, besting Democrat August Lusk by a vote of 1,834 to 729.
  Taking his seat at the start of the 1919-21 session, Huntington was named to the committees on Centennial Affairs, Congressional Apportionment, Federal Relations, Forestry, and Game. He wasn't a candidate for renomination in 1920 and in 1922 married to Blanche Swetland Bartoo (1885-1979), with whom he had two sons, Rupert (1923-1989)  and Samuel. Following his term, Huntington operated the Huntington Farm Supply Store and was an active Mason and parishioner at the Park Methodist Church.
  On October 1, 1954, Huntington lost control of a car he was driving on Dutch Hill in Coudersport and collided with a tree. He died of his injuries at a Coudersport hospital the following day and was subsequently interred at the Eulalia Cemetery in that city. Interestingly, this cemetery is also the resting place of Sobieski Ross (1828-1877), a two-term Pennsylvania congressman and Potter County judge.

From the 1899 Wyoming Senate composite photo.

   An obscure resident of Laramie County, Wyoming, Eleazer Smith Cady represented that county for two terms in the Wyoming Senate. Unfortunately, little information could be located on his life and career, hence why his profile here will be brief! Born in Swansea, Massachusetts on July 29, 1851, Eleazer S. Cady was the son of James Jerome and Experience (Smith) Cady. Inheriting his unusual name courtesy of his maternal grandfather, Eleazer Smith, Cady married in 1881 to Rhode Island native Amy Aldrich (1852-1929) and later had two children, Leo Melville (born 1886) and Excie Marguerite (born 1889).
  By the mid-1890s Cady had relocated to Laramie County, Wyoming, where in 1896 he was elected to the state senate. He served two terms (1897-1901) and following his service removed to Paonia, Colorado, where he was engaged as a building contractor. Widowed in 1929, Cady survived his wife by a decade and died in Colorado in 1939, aged 87. He was interred alongside his wife at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Paonia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Orator Henry LaCraft (1850-1940)


  This obscure South Dakota resident is one Orator Henry LaCraft, listed by most historical resources by the initials "O.H." During his long life, LaCraft was regarded as one of Clark County's most influential citizens and gained his notoriety through a variety of public endeavors, including town postmaster, rancher, farmer, teacher and state senator. Very few sources exist that mention Mr. LaCraft at great length, with the exception going to Doane Robinson's "History of South Dakota, Volume II" which was published in 1904. The majority of the facts on today's "honoree" were found in the aforementioned work, and within its pages are numerous biographies on other notable South Dakota residents who lived in the latter part of the 19th century.
  Orator LaCraft was originally born in Farmington, Wisconsin on August 13, 1850. His parents were natives of the Ashtabula, Ohio area and resettled in Wisconsin a few years before his birth. He attended schools local to the Washington County, Wisconsin area and after reaching adolescence moved to the town of Sheboygan. It was here that he began a decade-long career as a farmer, while also pursuing a teaching career during "the winter months." In April 1873 he married Charlotte Haviland, and the couple was married ten years before her death on July 17, 1883. They also had one son, Oscar Merton LaCraft, who died at age 20 in 1898.
  In 1883, LaCraft removed to South Dakota and eventually settled in Clark County. Within a few years of his relocation, he built up a prosperous general merchandise store, which he ran until 1891. Orator LaCraft remarried in 1885 to Ms. Clara Smith, and the couple had five children: Walter (born 1886), Delmar (died at age 3 in 1892), Osmer (born 1893), Lynn (born 1897) and Irma (born 1897). In addition to having a large family, he was also the owner and operator of a 320-acre ranch in Clark County for many years.
  Throughout the 1890s, LaCraft involved himself with public offices in his native county, beginning with his stint as assistant postmaster of Clark County in 1891. He later served as a member of the Clark School Board (including four years as its president) and also as a justice of the peace. LaCraft was also active in local fraternal organizations, including the Knights of Pythias, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
  In 1900, Orator H. LaCraft won election as a Republican to the South Dakota State Senate, representing his native county of Clark. He served in the Senate until 1904 and after leaving office, virtually nothing is known of his life.  LaCraft died at age 89 on July 25, 1940, and his wife Clara predeceased him by one year. The graves of the LaCraft family are located in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Clark County and the portrait of him shown above was discovered in the 1903 South Dakota Legislative Manual, which has proven to be another great repository for both names and pictures!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trevanion William Hugo (1848-1923), Trevanyon Levonia Matthews (1849-1944)


   This bearded fellow is Mr. Trevanion William Hugo,  a two-term Mayor of Duluth, Minnesota who was also a prominent figure in American Masonry. I first discovered T.W. Hugo on a historical roster of past Duluth mayors and during the course of research on his life, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a number of articles and pictures of him existed in some form or another. I wish this could be the story behind some of the other profiles on the site here, and considering the overall obscurity of Mr. Hugo, the wealth of articles mentioning him are a lasting testament to his reputation and public stature.
  Hugo was originally born in Boddinoc, Cornwall, England on July 29, 1848, the son of Nicholas Trevanion Kemp Hugo (1823-1906) and his wife Mary Rendle Marks. While Trevanion was still quite young the Hugo family resettled in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he attended the common schools. After leaving school, Hugo worked as a machinist for a number of years and later served as a marine engineer aboard numerous steamships on the Great Lakes. In September 1872 he married in Kingston to Ms. Jean Lanigan (1851-1902), with whom he had two sons, Victor Rendle Marks (1873-1913) and Rene Trevanion (1881-1924).
  Hugo resettled in Duluth, Minnesota with his family in 1881 and during the mid-1880s was employed as the chief engineer of the Consolidated Elevator Company. Hugo also used his engineering expertise in connection with the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, where he was a consulting engineer. 
  Sources of the time stress Trevanion Hugo's activity with the Masonic Fraternity, both in Canada and Minnesota. During his life, he was accorded numerous honors from this organization, including a stint as Grand Chancellor of the Supreme Council Scottish Rite of Free Masonry and later as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Minnesota. He was also active in publishing Masonic literature and authored an index on the Morals and Dogma of Masonry
  In addition to his prolific Masonic activities, Trevanion Hugo was also a highly regarded public official in Duluth, serving as a member of the Duluth Public Library Board and later earned a term as the President of the Duluth School Board. While these activities garnered Hugo a high public profile, he didn't actively pursue political office until 1890, when he won a seat on the Duluth City Council. He later was named as the President of this Council and in 1900 was elected as the Mayor of Duluth, serving a term of four years. A newspaper photo mentioning Hugo's tenure as mayor (as well as his service as a Republican National Convention delegate) is posted below.

              This picture of  Hugo appeared in the March 17, 1904 edition of the Minneapolis Journal.


    After his mayoral term, Hugo helped compile and edit the first volume of the History of Duluth and St. Louis County, which was published in 1910. The portrait of Hugo at the beginning of this profile was discovered in the aforementioned book. He returned to the political stage in 1920 when he was named as the acting Mayor of Duluth, upon the resignation of Clarence R. Magney (1883-1962). Hugo served out the rest of Magney's unexpired term into early 1921 when a successor (Samuel Snively) was elected.
  Trevanion William Hugo died at age 75 on February 27, 1923, as a result of "a relapse from a slight attack of influenza". The Duluth News Tribune memorialized Hugo as a "cultured gentleman in the best American meaning of the word" and that "few men better deserved the title of useful citizen."


                     This portrait of Trevanion Hugo appeared in the 1902 edition of "Men of Minnesota".


  In an interesting update to this article..... on March 4, 2012, a previously unknown politician was discovered who also has the given name "Trevanion", albeit with a slight variation in spelling. Read on to find out more!



  This newly discovered gentleman is Trevanyon Levonia Matthews, a resident of Cass County, Illinois who served one term in his state's House of Representatives. Matthews (some sources spell his name with only one "t") later relocated to Nebraska, where he gained additional notoriety as a United States Marshal. Earlier today I discovered his name in the Biographies of the State Officers and the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, which was published in 1883. This book offers up the only available biography on Matthews and the majority of the information in this addition comes from that source.
  He was originally born in the town of Florence, Pennsylvania on March 1, 1849. Matthews migrated to Cass County, Illinois in the mid-1860s and eventually removed to the town of Virginia in 1876. It was here that he became apprenticed to a carriage manufacturing outfit and engaged in this vocation for several years. Also during this time he began learning the printing trade and in the late 1870s became the editor of the Virginia Gazette newspaper.
  During his career as a publisher and printer, Matthews became active in local political circles and eventually mounted an unsuccessful campaign for county circuit clerk. His political fortunes changed in 1882 when he was elected by the citizens of Cass County as a Republican to the Illinois State House of Representatives. During his two year term, Matthews held a seat on the House Committees of Revenue, Canal and River Development, and Fish and Game. A roster from the 1883 legislative session (in which Matthews served) is posted below.




  Trevanyon L. Matthews resettled in Nebraska sometime in the 1890s and in 1899 was named as United States Marshal for Nebraska. Little references could be found on Matthew's tenure in this position, but it is known that he left this post in 1905. Nothing else is known of Matthews's life after this point, with the exception of his death, which occurred in Fremont, Nebraska on June 2, 1944. One can note that Matthews reached the great age of 95 and died over sixty years after serving in the Illinois Legislature! The portrait of him above was discovered in the 1904 work 1854-1904 Nebraskans, available on Google books.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Goforth Judson Ditch (1856-1944)


  This obscure man is Goforth Judson Ditch, a resident of St. Genevieve, Missouri who served one term in his state's House of Representatives. The portrait of him above is very likely the only one available online, and sources mentioning his legislative service and life have proven to be rather difficult to locate. A notable exception is the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1921-1922, where the above picture was found. This state manual offers forth the only substantial biography on Mr. Ditch, and although it is rather short, it will certainly help in compiling a brief write-up on him.
   Goforth J. Ditch was born in Waterloo, Illinois on October 8, 1856, being the son of John David and Elizabeth Ditch. At some point during his youth, his family resettled in St. Genevieve, Missouri, where he attended public schools. Ditch married here in February 1881 to Julia Ann Hipes. Goforth and Julia were married for sixty-two years, until her death in March 1943. The couple also had several children, Walter, Luther, Katie, Vallac, Andrew, Laura and Elbert.
   The Official Manual of Missouri lists Ditch's occupation as that of a farmer and school teacher, and it is noted that he followed the latter vocation for over fifty years! Ditch was also a justice of the peace in St. Genevieve County and later served as a census enumerator in 1900 and 1910. In 1920 Ditch was elected to a seat in the Missouri State House of Representatives. An electoral result from that state election is shown below, as it appeared in the St. Genevieve Fair Play on October 30, 1920. Ditch took his seat at the start of the 1921-22 session, and during his service sat on the following house legislative committees: Enrolled Bills, Federal Regulations, and Public Health and Scientific Institutions.




   Ditch served in the legislature for one term, which concluded in 1923. It is presumed that he went back to his earlier teaching career, but this remains uncertain. In 1932 Ditch reentered politics by running for his old seat in the state legislature but came up short in the vote count that year, being defeated by Democratic incumbent Louis Durey, 2,875 votes to 1, 338. Goforth J. Ditch died in St. Genevieve in February 1944 at age 87, a little less than a year after the death of his wife.


You Can Help!
  I am currently searching for more information on Goforth J. Ditch and need your assistance! As there is next to nothing online about this wonderfully named man, maybe someone out there knows more than what is already stated in his article. If any reader/amateur historian wants an interesting project to fill their time with, see what info you can dig up on this oddly named Missouri representative!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

McKercher John Randall (1872-1918)

Portrait from the Iowa Red Book, 1917-18 edition.

   A one-term member of the Iowa House of Representatives, McKercher John"Mac" Randall was born on May 17, 1872, in Hartland, Iowa,  the son of John and Almeda Randall. The Randall family removed to Nebraska in the year following their son's birth and returned to Iowa in 1879. "Mac", as he was familiarly known, attended schools local to the Worth County area and went on to study at several colleges, including the Iowa State College in Ames, the Cornell University in Mt. Vernon and University at Iowa City. 
   Randall earned his law degree from the last named school in 1901 and opened a law practice in the town of Lisbon, practicing here for several years. He would also serve a term as Mayor of Lisbon beginning in 1905. He married Katharine Stahl (1870-1970) in February 1897 and this union produced two sons, John David and Milo, the latter dying nine years before his fatherMcKercher Randall's obituary in the Lisbon Herald gives note that he was engaged as a minister for the United Evangelical Church while residing in Lisbon, and that "he was strength in itself in this profession, being deep and ready in the pulpit and tactful and sympathetic in the pastorate."
   Mac Randall left Lisbon in 1908 and soon after resettled in Cedar Rapids. He established another law practice here and also became active in civic affairs in that city, serving as the president of the Cedar Rapids school board and later was the grand master of the grand lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows from 1914-1915. 


A Randal campaign notice from the May 25, 1916 Lisbon Herald.

    In early 1916 Randall announced his candidacy for the Iowa House of Representatives from Linn County and hit the stump, campaigning throughout the district he hoped to represent. His candidacy was profiled in the Mount Vernon Herald in May of that year, in which he was acknowledged as: 
"A firm believer in the doctrine of few laws and those laws sufficiently enforced without regard to friends or influence and believes that the legislature would do better service by perfecting present laws than by adopting a lot of new laws. Mr. Randall is a forceful and convincing speaker and if elected will efficiently represent this county in the State Legislature."
   Following his primary election win in June 1916 Mac Randall won a legislative seat that November, garnering 8,692 votes on election day. Taking his seat at the start of the 1917 session, Randall sat on the committees on Commerce and Trade, Judiciary, the State University, Public Utilities, Municipal Corporations, Labor and the Soldier's Home.
   With a bright future in state government before him, Randall's service in the state legislature was cut short by his death on May 9, 1918, shortly before his 46th birthday. His obituary lists the cause of his demise as an attack of apoplexy, and that he "passed away two hours later". His sudden passing was acknowledged in the following assessment given by his fellow legislators shortly after his death:
"As a member of the legislature he was always ready to listen, to investigate, to discuss, and to give and take when it was fair and right, but never willing to comprise with wrong. He was an untiring worker and a man of broad vision and generous sympathies, and he easily ranked as one of the ablest and most popular members of the House of Representatives."
   McKercher J.Randall was subsequently interred in the Lisbon Cemetery in Lisbon, Iowa. He was survived by his son John and wife Katharine, who died in 1970 at the age of 100.


                                                                     From the Lisbon Herald, May 16, 1918.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cola De Rienzi Meacham (1838-1907), Cola Byron Streetman (1907-1991)


   The second Vermonter to be profiled here in as many days, Cola De Rienzi Meacham served in his state's House of Representatives from 1902-1904, representing the  county of Caledonia. Interestingly, Meacham served in the same legislative session as yesterday's site honoree, Pearl Castle Abbey. In an even more intriguing coincidence, both of these politicians were Baptist clergymen! 
  Looking more like a mad scientist than a pastor/public official, Cola De Rienzi Meacham was born to Vermont parents in Shefford, Province of Quebec, Canada on October 10, 1838Meacham's parents eventually resettled in Newport, Vermont in 1844, six years after their son's birth. Meacham received his unusual name in honor of the famed Roman politician and tribune Cola Di Rienzo (also spelled as Rienzi) who was assassinated in the year 1354. 
  As a youth, Meacham studied at the Derby Academy and (in another similarity to Pearl C. Abbey) later attended the New Hampton Institute in Fairfax, Vermont. Meacham graduated in 1870 from the Newton Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister that same year in Barre, Massachusetts. He married on June 14, 1870 to Ms. Electa Dustin Grow (1834-1902). The couple later became the parents of three sons, Willis Grow (died aged one in 1872), Cola Winn (born 1872) and Alfred Bertrand (born 1874).
  Throughout the latter part of the 19th century, Meacham served as pastor in many churches, mainly in the New England area. In 1886 he accepted the pastorate of the Baptist church in Ashland, Massachusetts, where the portrait below was taken. You'll notice the impressive facial hair that Meacham had during his younger years, and is a far cry from what he looked like during his tenure in the Vermont legislature.

                     This portrait of Cola DeR. Meacham appeared in the book "Ashland", authored by 
                            Edward A. McGuire and R. Marc Kantrowicz in 2001.

  Meacham left Ashland in 1889 and accepted a pastorate in Long Pine, Nebraska, and preached here until 1891. He returned to Vermont that same year, settling in the village of Townshend. Meacham became pastor here in 1892 and was later appointed as the Townshend Superintendent of Schools in 1897. 
  Several years after settling in Townshend, Meacham removed again, this time resettling in the town of Barnet. It was here that he was elected to his first political office, a seat in the Vermont State House of Representatives. He served in the legislature from 1902 to 1904, and during his term of service held a seat on the house Committee on Temperance. After his legislative service, Meacham returned to his earlier duties as a pastor and continued in this position until his death on June 3, 1907 at age 68. The portrait of Meacham shown at the top of this article was found in Vermont, A Souvenir of its Government, 1902-03, the same book in which the portrait of Pearl Castle Abbey was discovered. The below obituary for Meacham appeared in the June 7, 1907 edition of the Brattleboro, Vermont Phoenix.




   Mr. Cola Byron Streetman served a brief term as Mayor of the city Vero Beach and was for many years a potent force in the citrus industry in the Sunshine state. The son of George Sinclair (1872-1960) and Savannah Kilpatrick Streetman (1876-1943), Cola B. Streetman was born in Alabama in September 1907 and later married to Ms. Myrtle Hogan (1911-2000), with whom he would have two sons.
 Streetman removed to Vero Beach, Florida in 1929. Once settled, he joined his father in law in the local citrus industry and during the 1930s was successfully engaged in this business throughout the counties of Indian River and St. Lucie, serving as the general manager of the Hogan and Sons Citrus Co. As a founder of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Streetman was at the forefront of the Florida citrus industry becoming known worldwide, and his involvement with this organization wasn't limited to being a founder. He served on the FFVA Board of Directors for thirty-five years and was named as director emeritus two years before his death.
  In addition to his active involvement with the FFVA, Streetman also was a leading light in Vero Beach civic affairs, being elected as the Mayor of Vero Beach in December 1952. He served one term in this office, with his tenure concluding in December 1953. In his later years, Streetman continued to be an active force in the FFVA, serving as its President in 1969 and 1970. He died in January 1991 at age 83 and was interred at the Crestview Cemetery in Vero Beach. Streetman was survived by his wife Myrtle, who died nine years after her husband in February 2000 at age 89.