Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ephraim Smyser Hugentugler (1869-1949)

Picture courtesy of the "York County Blog".

   Possessing a truly funny name, Ephraim Smyser "Huggy" Hugentugler served as the Mayor of York, Pennsylvania for three terms during the late 1910s and 20s. Descended from German settlers, E.S. Hugentugler was born on May 31, 1869 in Columbia, Pennsylvania, the son of Ephraim and Mary Smyser Hugentugler.
   Early in his life Ephraim and his family removed to York, Pennsylvania, where he later attended the York High School in the mid-1880s. Soon after graduating from this school Hugentugler began work as a carrier for the local York Dispatch, later becoming an apprentice printer at this paper. His employment at the Dispatch lasted over twenty years, and in June 1892 Hugentugler married Lancaster, Pennsylvania native Laura Daveler, with whom he had one son, Charles Robert (1895-1973).
   In 1901 Hugentugler was appointed as the assistant postmaster of York and later was named as the secretary of the Columbia County Republican committee. In 1915 he mounted a successful campaign for the Mayor of York and officially took office in 1916. A rare campaign button from Hugentugler's campaign has been posted below.

  "Huggy" Hugentugler is remarked as being one of York's most colorful and popular Mayors, and his three terms (1916-1928) prove that he well respected among the electorate! During his first term as mayor (which coincided with WWI) Hugentugler had to contend with numerous incidents involving anti-German sentiment, and as a German-American politician during wartime, used the power of his office to support the war effort.
  The York County blog (where the top portrait of Hugentugler was found) gives note that he banned anti-war meetings in the city, prohibited the publishing of anti-war literature, and even went as far as to erect a wooden bust of Kaiser Wilhelm in York's Centre Square that citizens could pound a nail into (at the low price of ten cents a nail!)
  Hugentugler continued to serve as York mayor until 1928 and retired from public life in the mid-1930s. Little else could be found on his life, and he died in his native York on November 23, 1949 at age 80. A burial location for Hugentugler and his family couldn't be found at the time of this writing, although it is presumed that he was interred somewhere in the York vicinity. 

     This Hugentugler obit appeared in the Lebanon, Pennsylvania Daily News shortly after his death.

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