Portrait from Dan Messersmith's "Kingman", published 2010.
This dapper looking gent is Oregon Demarcus Magintry Gaddis, a Georgia native who sought his political and business fortunes in the Arizona Territory. He was born in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia on April 28, 1859, (the year that the Oregon Territory was admitted to the Union), and one can reasonably assume that Gaddis received his unusual first name because of this fact. Gaddis has proven to be a very elusive figure when it comes to information on the web, and most sources mention him not by his full name, but by the initials "O.D.M."
Gaddis attended the North Georgia Agricultural College and after graduating began a career as a teacher. Within a few years, he had found new employment with the Internal Revenue Service as a gauger (collector) for Georgia's Northern District. It is mentioned in the 1901 work Portrait and Biographical Record of Arizona that while on the job, Gaddis fought it out with moonshiners in the mountainous hills of Georgia, and that "he experienced many close calls in armed skirmishes with them." This book also states that he "has had more than one dead to his credit while acting in this capacity."
After leaving the Revenue Service in the mid-1880s, Gaddis experienced a case of wanderlust, relocating to Kentucky and then Florida before finally settling in Fresno County, California in 1886. During his California residency, he took on the position of bookkeeper at a Fresno law firm, holding this job for two years. After leaving California Gaddis resided in the New Mexico Territory for a time until moving to Kingman, Arizona in 1891. Two years later he married to Ms. Eleanor Baker (1872-1938) in the town of Cerbat. The couple would later have one son, Homer B. Gaddis (1894-1972).
It was in the Arizona Territory where Gaddis's fortunes truly came to fruition. Within a few short years of establishing his Arizona roots, Gaddis became a leading mercantile business owner in Kingman, while also having a hand in many mining interests in the vicinity. In 1893 he organized the Gaddis and Perry Co. and is recorded as engaging in the sale of various pieces of general merchandise for twenty-one years.
This portrait of Gaddis appeared in the December 1, 1894 edition of the Mohave Daily Miner.
In 1891 Gaddis began his political career when he was named by district court judge E.W. Wells as district court clerk. In 1894 the citizens of Mohave County elected O.D.M. Gaddis to a seat in the Arizona Territorial Assembly, officially taking his seat at the start of the new year's session in January 1895. His election to the legislature was remarked by the Mohave Daily Miner newspaper as a boon for the county, noting that "his excellent business qualifications singled him out as the choice of the people, and we are sure to be right when stating that Mr. Gaddis will work as hard in the legislature for the welfare of the people as he has done thus far in his more limited field of action." Gaddis served a two-year term in the legislature and would sit on the committees on Ways and Means; Mines and Mining; and the Territorial Library.
Oregon D.M. Gaddis's name is located on the bottom of this 1895 Arizona Legislative roster.
Following his legislative service, Gaddis received the appointment of U.S. Postmaster at Kingman in 1897. He continued with his mercantile and mining interests well into the 20th century, and is mentioned as being "known by everyone in the county (Mohave) and very popular among the masses." In 1900 he was named as a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention and in 1911 was elected to a seat on the Republican County Central Committee from Mohave. Gaddis continued to serve as Kingman's postmaster until his retirement in 1936 at age 77. In addition to his serving as postmaster Gaddis was active in the fraternal life of Kingman, being a charter member of the Kingman Elks Lodge.
Oregon D.M. Gaddis died on January 29, 1940, at the local Kingman hospital at age 80. He is recorded by his Arizona Republic obituary as having "suffered from an illness for over a month" and was later interred alongside his wife at the Mountain View Cemetery in Kingman.
Gaddis' obit from the Arizona Republic, published on January 31, 1940.
In a December 23, 2012 update to this posting, another politician has been discovered that has the unusual first name of "Oregon". Read on to find out more!
Hailing from California, the mysterious Oregon Sanders earns a place here on the site due to his odd first name and for his service as a delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention. Not much is known of Mr. Sanders, who is listed by the Find-a-Grave website as being born sometime in 1850. Other sources list him as being a prominent attorney in the Tulare County, California area and he served as District Attorney for that county from 1882-1884.
In 1884 Sanders served as a delegate to that year's Republican National Convention in Chicago that nominated James G. Blaine for President. In the early 1890s, Sanders held the post of Deputy Attorney General for California and later died in San Francisco on June 19, 1903, at age 53. He was interred at the Modesto Citizens Cemetery in Stanislaus County, California. The rare newspaper print of Sanders shown above appeared in the August 23, 1896 edition of the San Francisco Call, which highlighted Sanders' service as defense attorney for Jo Gregory, then on trial for the murder of one Jack Littlefield in Round Valley, California.