Monday, December 31, 2012

Candelario Vigil (1877-1941)

    From the 1913 work "Representative New Mexicans"

   Candelario Vigil is honored today on the SNIAPH as the first political strange name profile from the state of New Mexico. A resident of Union County, Vigil was a prominent figure on the New Mexico political scene both before and after it became a state in 1912. Little could be found online in regards to his life and political career, but enough information has been located to compile a small write up on his accomplishments.
  Born on February 2, 1877 in San Wapello, New Mexico, Candelario Vigil was the son of Augustin (1843-1909) and Eleuteria Ortega Vigil. Candelario is recorded by the 1913 work Representative New Mexicans as attending public schools in the Mora County, New Mexico area and was later enrolled in a private school in the village of Wagon Mound. 
   Candelario married in 1897 to Ms. Carolina Vigil (1878-1941, no relation) with whom he had several children, who are listed as follows: Daniel (1898-1898), Candelario (1900-1979), Lionela (1902-1995), Agustin (1907-1999), Esequiel (1905-1998), Max Elmer (1909-2000), Fulgencio (born 1912) and an adopted daughter,  Juanita (born 1918).
  From the few sources that mention him, Candelario Vigil is recorded as being "one of the most successful stockraisers" in the Union County area, owning a large amount of American Hereford cattle. The Representative New Mexicans also note that Vigil was a notary public and served a term on the Union County Board of Education from 1902-1904. 
  In 1911 Vigil's public profile received a boost when he became a delegate to the New Mexico Constitutional Convention from Union County. This convention was of major importance in New Mexico history as it drew up a state constitution, and within two years of its creation, New Mexico became the 47th state, with its statehood proclamation being signed by then-President William Howard Taft. 

  In 1912 Candelario Vigil was elected as a Republican to the New Mexico State House of Representatives. Taking his seat in January 1914, Vigil's term concluded in 1916. Due to the lack of information on Mr. Vigil, it is unknown at this time if he took part in any important legislation during his years of service, and it is also a mystery as to the committees he may have served on.
  Little else is known of Vigil's life after his tenure in the New Mexico legislature. He is recorded as dying on March 14, 1941, at age 63 in the town of Clayton, New Mexico and was shortly thereafter interred at the Clayton Cemetery in Union County. Carolina Vigil died a few months after her husband in September 1941 at age 64 and was interred alongside him in Clayton. 

                   This portrait of Vigil appeared in the 1915 edition of the New Mexico Blue Book.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lanphear Herbert Scott (1856-1923)

   A resident of distinction in Harrison County, Ohio, Lanphear Herbert Scott is one of those interestingly named politicians who was somehow blessed with a surname as a first name! Scott served as Mayor of Cadiz, Ohio during the early 1900s and was later elected to three terms in the Ohio State House of Representatives after serving as mayor.
  Lanphear H. Scott was born in Harrison County, Ohio on February 12, 1856, one of nine children born to John Walter and Jane Pettis Scott. John and Jane were respective residents of Yorkshire, England and the Isle of Wight and had immigrated to the United States some years previously. Lanphear Scott attended schools local to the Harrison County area and later enrolled at the University of New York and Columbia University, graduating with an LL.B. degree.
   During the mid-1870s Scott is listed as residing in Newark, New Jersey and here operated a law practice for some time. He relocated back to Cadiz in 1888 and here was "engaged with his brothers as a jeweler and inventor." In July 1901 Scott married in Cadiz to Julia Williams, and the couple is recorded as being childless during the duration of their marriage. 
  In 1903 Lanphear Scott was elected as Mayor of Cadiz and served one term in this office. Nearly five years later the Republican party officers of Harrison County put Scott's name up for nomination to the Ohio State House of Representatives and proved to be successful, defeating "the incumbent in office and another man for the nomination." 

              An article on Scott's nomination that appeared in the Jeweler's Circular in May 1908.

   Scott took his seat in January 1909 and served a total of three terms in the legislature, the last of which concluded in 1915. The Ohio Manual of Legislative Practice (where the above picture of Mr. Scott was found) denotes that his three terms in the House were a first for any representative from Harrison County, stating that "he was the first and only person to be honored this way by his constituency".  During his service Scott was named to a number of House Committees, which are listed as follows: Finance and Appropriations, Constitutional Amendments and Initiative and Referendum, Manufactures, Commerce, and Villages. 
   Lanphear Scott is listed by the Ohio Manual as being a member of the Republican house majority during his terms and was lauded as being "one of the ablest orators in the house", and his career as an attorney "made him a conservative and critical member as to legislative measures." During the course of research on Scott's life, information was located that mentions his being severely injured in a train derailment that occurred near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in November 1912. Scott was still serving in the legislature at the time and was a passenger on board a train traveling from Cincinnati when it went off the rail and plunged over an embankment! Scott himself is listed as suffering a fractured leg during the crash and four other passengers are recorded as losing their lives. 

               This article on the accident appeared in a 1912 edition of the Van Wert Daily Bulletin.

  After leaving the legislature in the mid-1910s, Lanphear Scott returned to his earlier interests as a Harrison County merchant and jeweler. The 1913-14 Ohio Manual makes note of Scott having oil drilling interests, and he is listed as owning a "small ranch on the Texas Gulf coast which mainly occupies his attention as a hunting preserve."  In addition to this, Scott also was an active member of the local Knights of Pythias and Odd Fellows lodges, as well as the Masons.
  Lanphear Herbert Scott died at age 67 on April 5, 1923 in Ohio. A burial location for him is unknown at the time of this writing, but sources mentioning the Scott family make light of a family vault at a cemetery in Cadiz so it may not be a foregone conclusion that Lanphear himself may be buried here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Welcome Ballou Sayles (1813-1862), Welcome Howard Wales (1821-1879), Welcome Otis Parker (1821-1899), Welcome Mowry (1842-1907), Welcome Wells (1808-1902), Welcome Hoffman Lawson (1861-1942)

  Today's substantial site profile will focus on five politicians who had the unusual first name "Welcome" bestowed upon them by their parents. For those who may be wondering, this odd first name has its origins in the Quaker faith,  and will certainly be one of the funnier names you'll find here on the site! 
   The first of these men to be profiled is the bewhiskered Welcome Ballou Sayles, a Woonsocket, Rhode Island resident who served as a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. Sayles was regarded one of Woonsocket's most prominent residents during his short life, and his death at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862 certainly curtailed a most promising political career.
   Welcome B. Sayles was born in Bellingham, Massachusetts on July 12, 1812, the son of Daniel and Olive Ballou Sayles. Young Welcome is recorded as receiving his education in the Bellingham, Massachusetts public schools and at age 20 relocated to Woonsocket.
  Shortly after his arrival Sayles began work at a general store in the village of Bernon. He eventually became the owner of this store and in May 1839 married Rhode Island native Deborah Cushing Watson. Six children were eventually born to Welcome and his wife, and are listed as follows in order of birth: Mary Olive (1840-1843), Eliza Jane (1842-1912), Mary Edith ( 1845-1873), Julia Wikinson (1848-1910), Phillip Allen (1852-1877) and Louis Leprelette (1854-1855).
  In 1845, Sayles was appointed as the Postmaster of Providence by then President James Knox Polk and was reappointed to this post by President Pierce in 1853. Sayles continued to serve as postmaster until 1857, and his work in the office was noted by the Elaborate History  and Genealogy of the Ballou's in America as one of note, saying that 
"As Postmaster of Providence his success was not surpassed by that of any other postmaster in New England; and his promptness and accuracy were as highly commended by the government, as were his other qualities and characteristics of service by the public."
   Sayles continued postal work under President Buchanan, journeying to the Arizona Territory and later to the southern states to "effect such settlements with the postmasters there, as would secure the government from losses and other embarrassments which threatened to result from the secession movement then beginning.In addition to his postal duties, Sayles was also actively engaged as a publisher, maintaining a connection with the Providence Daily Post for a number of years. 

  This portrait of Sayles appeared in the 1903 book The Seventh Regiment RI Volunteers in the Civil War.

   During the 1840s, Sayles began to test the political waters, serving as a delegate to "every Democratic National Convention from Polk on down." In 1851 he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island, losing a close election to Whig incumbent George Gordon King (1807-1870). Sayles again served as a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, and it was here that he witnessed firsthand secessionist agitators and "exerted himself to restrain the lawless tendencies of his Southern friends." The rampant convention talk of breaking away from the Union proved to be too much for Sayles, as he eventually signed on for military service in the Seventh Regiment of the Rhode Island Volunteers at the dawn of the Civil War. 
  Sayles eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and he was noted in the early mentioned Ballou Genealogical history as being "the idol of his regiment, and was kindly spoken of as a man and highly praised as an officer by all with whom he came in contact." Welcome Sayles and his regiment made their way to Virginia in December 1862 to engage in the Battle of Fredericksburg, regarded by most Civil War historians as one of the most lopsided campaigns to take place during the entire war. Union casualties (both killed and wounded) numbered over 12,000, while the Confederate casualties measured only 608 killed and 4,116 wounded.
  Welcome B. Sayles lost his life at Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, when he was "killed outright by a shell which exploded in coming in contact with his person." His remains were removed from the battlefield and eventually returned to Rhode Island, and a few days later were interred in the Swan Point Cemetery in that city. Sayles's wife Deborah survived him by over twenty years, dying in 1889 at age 71, and was also buried in the Swan Point Cemetery. The large print of Welcome Sayles shown at the opening of his article here appeared in the American Philatelist, Volume 31, published in 1917.
   This  notice on Welcome B. Sayles appeared in a December 1862 edition of the Newport Daily News.

   From Rhode Island, we journey north to Plymouth County, Massachusetts and examine the life and career of one of that county's prominent 19th-century citizens, Welcome Howard Wales. Mr. Wales was a manufacturer in the Plymouth community for many years and eventually served a term as Plymouth's representative in the Massachusetts General Court during the 1860s. The rare print of him shown above was published in the second volume of the 1884 work History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, compiled by Dwayne Hamilton Hurd.
  Welcome H. Wales was born in the town of Brockton (formerly North Bridgeport) on January 20, 1821, the son of John and Olive Howard Wales. Welcome attended school in the Brockton area and in 1845 married Lois Kingman. One child was born to Welcome and his wife, Abbie Penn Wales, who died at age 17 in 1866. 
  Wales is recorded as being involved in machine manufacture for the majority of his life and in 1862 was elected to his first public office, that of town clerk for Brockton. He went on to serve as a collector of taxes until his death and also occupied the offices of town selectman and supervisor on numerous occasions. Wales was elected to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives from Brockton in 1869 and was reelected in 1871, and during his first term held a seat on the Committee on Horse Railways. 
  Welcome H. Wales died at age 58 on July 2, 1879, of "disease of the heart" and was buried in the Union Cemetery in Brockton, Massachusetts. His wife Lois survived him by nearly four decades, dying at age 89 in 1916 and was also interred in the Union Cemetery. Wales' death in 1879 was marked as a loss of an "experienced and valued servant, and the public one who was ardently interested in all the pertained to the advancement of the various interests of Brockton."

   Next up is Welcome Otis Parker, a lawyer and legislator from Huron County, Ohio. Sporting a pair of substantial sideburns, Mr. Parker represented Huron County in both houses of the Ohio legislature during the late 1860s and 1870s, whilst also distinguishing himself as the proprietor of a general store in his native county.
  Parker was originally born in Burlington, Vermont on June 12, 1821, and migrated to Vermillion, Ohio at an early age. In 1843 or thereabouts he married Clintonville, New York resident Mary Thurman, who died at age 26 in March 1848. Shortly after Mary's death, Parker remarried in August 1849 to Ms. Lurancy Almeda Barney, who eventually bore him three children, Richardson T. Parker (1844-1912), Abram (or Abraham) Parker (1846-1850) and a daughter whose married name is given as Mrs. J.S. Richardson.
  Welcome O. Parker eventually removed to the town of Sandusky and here opened a general store. His time in Sandusky lasted until 1850, whereafter he removed to the city of Norwalk where he continued in the general merchandise business. While residing in Norwalk, Parker was elected to the Ohio State House of Representatives as a Republican, serving from 1868-1871. In 1872 he won a seat in the state Senate and served here for one term.
   Little could be found on Parker's life after he left the legislature. He removed to Toledo, Ohio in the years after his legislative service but returned to Norwalk a few years before his death. He died of apoplexy at age 79 on December 8, 1899, at the home of his son Richardson, and in an odd coincidence, expired a few hours before the death of his granddaughter Mary Parker Williams. Parker was later interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Norwalk, Ohio. The rare portrait of him shown above was located via the Find-a-Grave website, and many thanks to the user who posted it there!

  Pictured above is Mr. Welcome Mowry, a resident of Illinois who found his political and business fortunes in Iowa. Mowry was born on April 3, 1842 in Putnam County, Illinois, the son of George A. and Nancy Jack Mowry. Welcome received his education in the common schools of Putnam County and later enrolled at the Dover Academy in Illinois. 
  After completing his education Mowry enlisted in Company D of the Seventh Kansas Calvary and eventually saw action at the Battles of Corinth, Coffeyville, and Tupelo, amongst others. He was mustered out of service in Kansas in 1864 but later re-enlisted in the Illinois 151st Infantry. He continued in active military service until February 1866 and was remarked by one of his commanders as being "frequently on duty as scout in hazardous expeditions where his unflinching bravery, quick intelligence and sound judgement where signally displayed. He was an ideal soldier".
  Mowry married on September 5, 1866, in Wyanet, Illinois to Ms. Lucina Sapp (1845-1915), with whom he had three children: Lorena C. (1868-1943), Burdette F. (born 1870) and Alzeda Sapp (1873-1960). In 1867 Welcome and his wife removed to a farm located in Tama County, Iowa, and it was here that they would reside for the rest of their lives. 
  Mowry engaged in farming and stock raising throughout the 1870s and in 1873 was an unsuccessful candidate for the Iowa State House of Representatives, placing a distant third in a field of six candidates. A result of that election is provided below.

  While he may have been unsuccessful in his campaign for the legislature, Mowry's name eventually became one of the most prominent ones in Tama County, holding a number of local business and fraternal positions. In 1875 he was named as one of the directors of the Tama County Agricultural Association and later served as President of the Tama County Veterans Association in 1884.
  In 1883 Mowry began another campaign for a seat in the state House of Representatives and in November of that year won the election. Taking his seat in January 1884, Mowry was named to the Committees on Roads and Highways, Compensation of Public Officers, and Libraries during his term and also served as Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands.
Welcome Mowry as he appeared in the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette in September 1898.

   After leaving the legislature in 1886, Mowry returned to his farming interests and in 1896 was named as a Republican Presidential Elector for Iowa in that year's election. Further political honors were accorded to him two years later when he was named to the Iowa State Railroad Commission and served on this board from 1899-1902.
   Welcome Mowry died of stomach cancer on April 15, 1907 while staying in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He was later buried in the Buckingham Cemetery in Traer, Iowa and was memorialized in the 1907 Annual Report of the Iowa State Commerce Commission as being one of Iowa's "ablest and most valuable citizens" and that "his name is closely identified with progress and development in the state." The portrait of Mowry shown at the beginning of his article here appeared in Volume IV of the History of Iowa, published in 1903 and authored by Benjamin F. Gue.

                       Mowry's obituary as it appeared in the Semi-Weekly Reporter in April 1907.

   From Iowa we journey to Kansas and Mr. Welcome Wells, a resident of the county of Riley. During a long life that extended nearly 94 years, Wells served as a mayor of Coshocton, Ohio, a county commissioner in Kansas and was elected to multiple terms in both houses of the Kansas legislature.
   Welcome Wells was born in Danville, Vermont on September 17, 1808, one of twelve children born to Paul and Mary Mason Wells. Welcome Wells is recorded as residing with his parents until age seventeen, whereafter he left home and resettled in Rensselaer County, New York. Here he joined an older brother and learned the art of shoe making. He resided here until the early 1830s and then removed to Utica, New York where he also practiced his craft. Wells married on May 17, 1829, to Eliza Gardner (1812-1900), with whom he would have several children. They are listed as follows: George (died aged 99 in 1930), Sarah (died 1914) Alfred (birthdate unknown), Otis (died 1884), Helen (died 1879), Samuel (died aged eight), Albert (died aged thirty-seven in Ohio). 
   Wells left New York in 1855 and traveled to Ohio, settling in the village of Coshocton. Here he again set up a shoe-making business and was elected as that town's mayor in 1855, serving a term of two years. He resided here until 1857 when he pulled up stakes once again and headed westward towards the Kansas Territory. After arriving at his destination (the village of Manhattan), Wells staked a claim to some land and after being joined by his family some months after his arrival established a shop in this town. The Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay and Riley Counties notes that Wells established an orchard on his homestead as well, and within a decade of his arrival had "one of the most valuable orchards in the vicinity comprising 2,000 trees in good bearing condition, and of fifty varieties." 
  While Welcome Wells was a prominent farmer and landowner in the Riley County area, he also was sought out by his fellow citizens to hold offices of the public trust. He began serving as justice of the peace in Manhattan a few months after his arrival and in 1862 was elected to the Kansas State House of Representatives from the counties of Riley and Pottawatomie. He was reelected to this body a decade later and served one term that concluded in 1873. Wells also served as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Pottawatomie County and in 1878 was elected to one term in the Kansas State Senate that concluded in 1880. 
   After leaving the state senate, Wells served another term as County Commissioner, serving from 1881-1883. Eliza Wells died in March 1900 after over seventy years of marriage and Welcome himself died nearly two years later on January 22, 1902, at age 93. Both were interred at the Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan Kansas, which is also the resting place of several of the Wells' children. The rare portrait of him shown above was located in the earlier mentioned Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay and Riley Counties, originally published in 1890.

From the 1902 edition of the New York Herald.

From the Red Hook Journal, October 1916.

   A longtime resident of Dutchess County, New York, Welcome Hoffman Lawson was a figure of distinction in that county for many years, being both a businessman and civic leader. He was a two-time Democratic candidate for a seat in the New York State Assembly from Dutchess County's 2nd district, rightly earning him a place here on the site.
  The son of Casper and Eliza Lawson, Welcome Hoffman Lawson was born in 1861. Little could be found on his early life or education, though notice has been found as to his serving as the Secretary of the Dutchess County branch of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1887. For a good majority of his eighty-one years he was involved in the "cream separator business", and his experience in this line of work received press in the Red Hook Journal's political advertisement on his candidacy in 1916, noting:
""He knows the needs of the farm and the dairymen and there is not a man in this district better fitted for effective work in the interest of the producing farmers of this district than he."
  Lawson's work with cream separators eventually took him to Montreal, where he served as the director of the DeVal Separator Company. The Red Hook Journal relates that after taking charge of this company Lawson managed to "inaugurate a system of gauging wages" based on the "excellence of workmanship and the amount of work produced". Lawson's prominence in business eventually led to his nomination for the New York State Assembly in 1900, but was unsuccessful on election day, losing to Republican nominee Francis Landon by a vote of 5, 711 to 4,175. Lawson was again the Democratic nominee for the assembly in 1916, and on election day in November was dealt another loss, being defeated by Republican candidate Frank L. Gardner by over a thousand votes, 5,440 to 4,094.
  Following his loss in 1916, little else could be found on Welcome Lawson. He continued to reside in Dutchess County and is mentioned as being a "neighbor of 30 years standing" of Governor (and later President) Franklin D. Roosevelt, both residing in Hyde Park. Lawson died at age 81 in 1942 and was later interred at the LaGrange Rural Cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Welcome H. Lawson meeting with President Roosevelt in November 1937.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ditzler Billoat Brown (1875-1951)

   A prominent resident in the city of McMinnville, Tennessee, Ditzler Billoat Brown found distinction in the fields of both publishing and politics during his life, being a founder of the Warren County, Tennessee Times as well as a five-term member of the Tennessee State House of Representatives. Listed by most sources as "Billoat Brown", little information could be found online in regards to his long public career, although a small obituary for him (published in the Southern Standard shortly after his death) came to my rescue in this respect!
  Ditzler Billoat Brown was born in Shiloh, Tennessee on May 26, 1875, the son of Absolom Duskin (1848-1889) and Betty Jane Dykes Brown (1856-1935). While his parents may have blessed him with a rather unusual name, Brown seems to have liked going by the name "Billoat Brown" instead of using his first name "Ditzler". Nearly all of the period sources that mention him list Brown as "Billoat Brown", which can make one wonder if he had some reservations about using his odd first name!
  The Brown family relocated from Shiloh to McMinnville when their son was six years of age,  and no information could be located on his education or schooling. Duskin Brown is listed as dying when his son was fourteen years old, and shortly after his father's passing Brown began work on the staff of the McMinnville Southern Standard. He remained in this employ until 1898 when he was elected to his first public office, that of Circuit Court clerk for Warren County. 
  Brown's tenure as clerk lasted until 1900, and three years later he returned to the field of publishing, helping to found the Warren County Times weekly newspaper with his younger brothers Aaron Burr and William Oatley Brown. This paper enjoyed wide circulation and was a success, with Billoat Brown continuing active involvement in its publication until 1945 when he retired due to health concerns
  On July 17, 1906, Ditzler Billoat Brown married in McMinnville to Rena Hughes (1886-1926) with whom he would have two children, Elizabeth W. (1909-1995) and Franklin H. (1921-1985). Ditzler and Rena were married for nearly twenty years until her death at age 39 in May 1926, and Brown never remarried after her untimely passing.

Brown as he looked during his first term in the Tennessee Assembly, circa 1926.

    While still engaged in the publishing of the Times, Brown began venturing into local public office, holding a seat on the McMinnville City Board of Education as well as the Warren County Board of Election Commissioners. In 1925 he was elected to the first of five terms in the Tennessee State House of Representatives and represented Warren County throughout his tenure in the legislature. He was reelected to this body in 1929 (serving until 1931), 1933-1935, 1935-1937, and for his final term in 1939 (serving until 1941). Brown's Southern Standard obituary also notes that he was a successful campaign manager in addition to his lengthy legislative service, helping guide Democrat Austin Peay (1876-1927) to victory during the Tennessee gubernatorial election of 1923.
   Ditzler Billoat Brown's final term in the legislature concluded in January 1941 and afterward he returned to private life in McMinnville. He is mentioned in his obituary as being the "oldest member of the congregation of the First Methodist Church" and was also a past superintendent of that church's Sunday school. Brown died at his McMinnville home n August 15, 1951, one month after his 76th birthday. His death was noted in his Southern Standard obituary as being the result of a heart condition, and he was shortly thereafter interred at the Riverside Cemetery in McMinnville alongside his wife Rena. The three portraits of Brown contained in his profile here all come from a series of Tennessee Legislative composite portraits taken during his years in the legislature. These pictures can be viewed in their entirety on the Tennessee General Assembly website's House Archives subsection! 
   This portrait of Billoat Brown appeared on the Tennessee Legislative Composite photo of 1939-40.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Horn Riley Kneass (1812-1861)

  A fairly recent discovery as far as strangely named political figures are concerned, very little information has come to light in regards to Horn R. Kneass, a prominent Pennsylvania lawyer who served a brief stint as District Attorney of Philadelphia in the early 1850s. Other than a few brief lines mentioning his being Philadelphia's D.A. and his Odd Fellows Lodge activity, not much else in known of Mr. Kneass, hence why his article here will be on the short side!
  From the few biographical sources that mention him, it has been found that Horn Riley Kneass was born in Philadelphia on June 24, 1812, the son of Christian and Sarah Polhemus Kneass. It is unknown at the time of this writing why this couple endowed their son with the unusual first name "Horn" and his birth year is also under dispute, occurring in either 1812 or 1813.
   Horn Kneass entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1827 and graduated from in the class of 1830. He studied law under Philadelphia native (and future Vice President) George Mifflin Dallas in the early 1830s and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1833. Kneass married on December 10, 1839 to Delaware native Sarah Emerson Williamson (1819-1898) with whom he would have five children: Sarah Williamson (died young), Nicholas Williamson (1840-1896), Christian (1842-1891), Horn Riley Jr. (born 1845), Robert Knight (born 1847) and Juliette Bradford (birthdate unknown).
   After being admitted to the state bar Horn R. Kneass quickly established a reputation as a lawyer of "integrity and liberality of character" and by the late 1840s had become one of the most prominent figures in Pennsylvania law circles. Over the course of that decade, he served as Solicitor for the Moyamensing district of Pennsylvania (1839-1842), Philadelphia County (from 1847-1848) and Penn Township, 1848-50. 
  The Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 7 notes that Kneass's public profile received a significant boost in 1850 when he was nominated by the Democrats as their candidate for attorney for the newly consolidated county of Philadelphia and in November of that year won the election. His year-long term in this office was cut short by an electoral quagmire instigated by his Whig opponent William Bradford Reed, who had contested Kneass's election. After a substantial amount of political bickering between both parties, Reed and the Whigs claimed victory and he was installed as Philadelphia's attorney, serving until 1856.
  Although Kneass was put out of office in rather abrupt fashion, he continued to be a prominent figure in other walks of Pennsylvania public life. The Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania gives note that he was an "eminent member of the order of Odd Fellows" and later held the "position of Grand Master of the Order of Pennsylvania." Kneass was also honored by the Odd Fellows fraternity as Grand Sire of the Grand Lodge of the United States in 1847, and he is also listed as being a prominent member and Master of the Washington Lodge # 59 of Free and Accepted Masons. 
   Horn Riley Kneass died in Philadelphia of an undisclosed illness on December 12, 1861. He was 49 years old at the time of his death and was later interred at the Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia. The rare portrait of Kneass shown above (and in all likelihood the only one you'll ever see) was featured on an 1853 Klauprech and Menzels lithograph of past "Sires of the Grand Lodge of the I.O.O.F".  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saner Cook Bell (1875-1945)

Saner Cook Bell, a portrait featured in the 1934 Waterloo Daily Courier.

  This oddly named Iowan is one Saner Cook Bell, a distinguished businessman and civic leader based in the county of Black Hawk. Bell's inclusion here on the site rests on his unsuccessful candidacy for the Iowa State House of Representatives in 1934, as well as for his service as a delegate to the Iowa Convention that ratified the 21st Amendment in 1933.  
   Born in the town of Bowers, Pennsylvania on May 7, 1875, Saner Cook Bell was one of five children born to John Wilson and Elizabeth Cook Bell. His odd first name "Saner" can be considered a UFO even in terms of political strange names, and his middle name "Cook" stems from his mother's maiden name. Saner C. Bell received his education in the public schools of Pennsylvania and at age sixteen began attending the De Pauw Preparatory School in Greencastle, Indiana. He later continued his education in Pennsylvania, enrolling at Bucknell University in the borough of Lewisburg. 
  After completing his education, Bell removed to Plymouth, Connecticut, and in May 1903 married in this city to Ella Mae White (1876-1951). The couple is recorded as having one daughter, Dorothy A. Bell (1911-1985), listed as being born in Syracuse, New York.
   The Bell family resided in both Pennsylvania and New York between 1903 and 1914, and while living in the Empire State Bell became a member of the Madison County Trust and Deposit Company, beginning in 1913. In the following year, the family removed to Iowa, settling in Black Hawk County where they would reside for the rest of their lives. Soon after their resettlement, Bell became the secretary and manager of the Waterloo Canning Company, based in the town of Waterloo, Iowa.
   Bell spent fourteen years with the Waterloo Canning Company before organizing the Bell Canning Company, of which he was President and General Manager. The Bell Company is recorded by the Waterloo Daily Courier as turning out "500,000 cans of corn yearly, enjoying a distribution thru (sic) the Central, Western and Southwestern States-bringing in over $250,000-of this amount $160,000 goes to some 300 farmer planters and $90,000 to the employees of the five factories." The Courier also notes that Bell operated a chain of ten farms throughout Iowa and "feeds a herd of 225 dairy cows."

                        This sketch of Saner Bell appeared in the Waterloo Daily Courier in May 1928.

  While making large sums of money through his canning and farming interests, Bell also became active in Iowa political circles during the early 1930s. In 1933 he served as one of a number of delegates to the Iowa State Convention to ratify the 21st amendment, which overturned the 18th amendment that had outlawed the sale and manufacture of alcohol. Although he was a delegate to the Iowa convention that repealed prohibition, Bell himself stated in the Waterloo Daily Courier that "I am not in favor of liquor running wild. We thought that when the eighteenth amendment was passed that the young people would never know anything about liquor. But instead, they know more about it today than older persons who were adults before the amendment was first passed." 
   In 1934 Bell mounted an unsuccessful candidacy for the Iowa State House of Representatives from Black Hawk County, running in that years June 4th primary. An article on his candidacy appeared in the Courier that year and is shown below. 

   Although his campaign didn't succeed, Bell was undeterred, and in 1936 made a bid for Mayor of Waterloo. In this race he too was unsuccessful, but Bell continued to experience success in non-political areas, serving as the head of Waterloo's chapter of the National Recovery Administration in 1934-35 and as Exalted Ruler of the Waterloo Elks Lodge #290 from 1929-1935. Bell was also involved with the Waterloo Industrial council and a federal farm loan insurance agency, this according to his 1945 Courier obituary. Besides his involvement in the local Elks lodge, Bell was a parishioner at the First Presbyterian Church of Waterloo and was a member of the Waterloo Rotary Club.
   In 1940 Saner Bell became the general manager of the Unique Cleaners Inc. of Waterloo, serving in this position until his death in 1945. He died on November 4th of that year at the local hospital of "virus pneumonia" that had lasted two weeks. He was 70 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his wife and daughter. Bell was later interred at the Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery, also the resting place of Ella Bell and daughter Dorothy.

                     Bell's obituary from the Waterloo Daily Courier, published on November 5, 1945.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Greek Lent Rice (1886-1950)

Portrait from the 1945-49 Mississippi State Register.

    Possessing a full name that could be interpreted as a restaurant side dish, native Mississippian Greek Lent Rice devoted over thirty years of his life to public service in the Hospitality State. Despite being saddled with a name that most would consider truly unusual, Rice served a term in the Mississippi legislature, was a state circuit court judge, and in 1931 was elected as Mississippi Attorney General, serving in this post for nearly two decades.
  The son of Lent Irwin (1859-1915) and Annie Passgrove Rice (1860-1894), Greek Lent Rice was born in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi on May 18, 1886. Rice received his education in schools local to Tallahatchie County and later graduated from the Mississippi College in the city of Clinton in 1908. Rice continued his higher education at the Cumberland College in Tennessee, earning his law degree in 1911. After being admitted to practice, Rice opened a law office in Charleston, Mississippi and operated here for several years. From 1918-19 he resided in Washington, D.C., where he served as an attorney in the office of the alien property custodian.
   Rice made his first move into political circles in 1919, running for a seat in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. He was successful in his candidacy, taking his seat in 1920. Rice served in the legislature until 1921 and in that year resigned to accept the position of circuit court judge for Mississippi's 17th district. With an office located in Charleston, Rice served on the bench for a decade, leaving office in 1931 to run for Mississippi State Attorney General. An election notice featuring Rice appeared in the August 3, 1931 edition of the Hattiesburg American and is shown below. This notice touts Rice's previous judicial and legislative experience and also makes light of his being "endorsed and supported by every lawyer in the five counties of his district."

   On election day 1931 Rice succeeding in winning the Attorney Generalship, thus beginning an 18-year tenure as Mississippi's highest ranking law enforcement figure. While his service as attorney general extended nearly two decades, Rice also served in other political capacities, being a delegate to the 1936 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from Mississippi. Four years later Rice again served as a member of the Mississippi delegation to the DNC, journeying to Chicago to renominate President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the party's standard-bearer. 
   Rice was re-elected to his final term as Attorney General in November 1949 and died in office a few months later on February 21, 1950, at the home of his sister. He was 63 years old at the time of his death and newspapers of the time note that Rice had been in a deteriorating state of health for some time prior to his passing. These papers also mention that Rice "held the rare distinction of never being defeated in a campaign for public office" during his lifetime.
   The death of Greek L. Rice was front page news in many Mississippi newspapers, and the outpouring of sympathy extended from then Mississippi Governor Fielding Lewis Wright as well as Mississippi House Speaker Walter Sillers. The entire Mississippi Legislature would hold a recess to attend Rice's funeral services. Governor Wright later appointed Mississippi Supreme Court justice James Plemon Coleman (1914-1991) to succeed the deceased Rice, and went on to serve six years in that post. A lifelong bachelor, Rice was survived by five siblings and was interred at the Charleston Cemetery in Charleston, Mississippi. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Selig Manilla (1845-1909)

    A distinguished businessman and brewer based in both New York and Springfield, Massachusetts, German native Selig Manilla's inclusion on the site here rests on his serving as a Massachusetts delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Although his political qualifications are comparatively minor when set alongside some of the other persons profiled here, Mr. Manilla is nevertheless an intriguingly named historical figure who has scant information available online in regards to his life!
   Selig Manilla was born to Jewish parentage in Germany sometime in 1845 and attended school in his native country. He became employed at the Johann Hoff Brewery in Berlin at a young age, remaining here until age sixteen. Manilla immigrated to the United States shortly after leaving this brewery and eventually settled in New York City. 
  Soon after his resettlement, Manilla reestablished his roots in the brewing community, becoming employed at the Lion Brewery (then the largest brewery of its kind in the United States.) He remained here until the late 1870s, and later established a business connection with New York malter Matthew White for a short time. In 1885 Manilla became the director of the Abbott Brewery in Brooklyn, helping the business grow "to a remarkably successful degree." Mr. Manilla married at some point while living in New York to a woman named Sarah. The couple is recorded as having at least one daughter, Amelia (birthdate unknown), who is also listed as "Mrs. Borrow Barnett".
   Manilla left New York during the late 1880s and removed to Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1890 he founded the Springfield Brewing Company, with which he achieved much success. As the company's president and general manager, Manilla was described as "practically revolutionizing the brewing industry of New England" by the New England States, Volume IV, a biographical series published in 1897. This series remarks that under Manilla's stewardship, the brewery increased its output of 7,000 barrels in 1890 to over 72,000 four years later, "a record unapproached by any five-year-old brewery in the world." Amongst the most popular of the brewery's products was the "Tivoli" lager, described then as "almost a household word", and proved to be so popular with the masses that it was "shipped to every corner of the globe."
   While Manilla's business acumen and monetary success won him public acclaim, the American Brewer's Review also notes that he maintained a keen interest in political affairs. Manilla is mentioned as a "trusted and influential member of Tammany Hall" during his time in New York and "was several times sent to conventions by his Democratic Party friends." In the 1896 presidential election year, Manilla was named as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that nominated William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) for the Presidency. A passage from that year's DNC Official Proceedings manual (bearing Manilla's name) is shown below.

   After experiencing remarkable success in Springfield, Manilla sold his interest in the company and returned to New York, purchasing another brewery located at Dobbs Ferry. This brewery opened in August 1900 under the name of the Manilla Anchor Brewing Company and is mentioned by a 1900 edition of the Dobbs Ferry Register as celebrating its opening with a giant clambake that was attended by over 1500 people from New York and New England. A print of this massive brewing complex and its surrounding area appeared in the Dobbs Ferry Register (shown below).

   The Manilla Anchor Brewery followed the Springfield Brewery as a profitable venture, and in the mid-1900s Selig Manilla began work on another brewing complex, this time located in Bellows Falls, Vermont. The American Brewer's Review notes that this proved to be unsuccessful, and no further elaboration is given as to why it failed. In addition to his business pursuits, Manilla was also a First Deputy Grand Master of the Independent Order of the Sons of Benjamin and a trustee of the Washington Cemetery in New York City.
  Selig Manilla is recorded as retiring from public life in 1907 and died at the home of his nephew Benjamin on December 26, 1909, at age 64. Manilla's funeral was held at his place of residence in New York City and an exact burial location for him is unknown at the time of this writing. The rare portrait of him shown atop his article was located in the fourth volume of the New England States, published in 1897.

                              From the American Brewer's Review, Vol. 24, published in 1910.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lindorf Osborn Whitnel (1863-1924)

From the July 7, 1900 St. Louis Republic.

  With a first name that bears a slight similarity to the famous "Lindor" truffle, how could one not find the name "Lindorf O. Whitnel" humorous? Aside from having a funny name, Mr. Whitnel was a prominent railway attorney based in Illinois and earns a place here on the site due to his unsuccessful candidacy for Congress in 1900, as well as for his being a Democratic National Convention delegate in 1896 and a Presidential Elector for Illinois in 1912.
   A lifelong resident of the Prairie State, Lindorf Osborn Whitnel was born in the town of Vienna, Illinois on February 4, 1862, the son of David Tullis and Parmelia Caldwell Whitnel. Lindorf received his education in Vienna public schools and later studied at the Normal School in Danville, Illinois from 1881-1883.
  After concluding his schooling in the early 1880s Whitnel began pursuing the study of law, eventually earning his law degree in the mid-1880s. He began service as an intern in the law office of Pleasant Thomas Chapman (a future U.S. Representative) in 1885 and in July of 1888 married in the town of Stonefort, Illinois to Ms. Amanda Elizabeth Trammell (1867-1944). The couple would later have three children, Ella W. (1889-1967), Josiah (1894-1951) and George (1898-1958). 
   Throughout the latter part of the 19th century, Whitnel continued to practice law in Johnson County, Illinois, eventually forming a partnership with another local attorney (George B. Gillespie) in 1890, continuing in this practice until 1901. Their law office was mentioned as being "a strong firm, with extensive patronage" in a biographical history of the Johnson County area. In 1896 Whitnel was named as one of Illinois' delegates to that year's Democratic National Convention in Chicago that nominated William Jennings Bryan for President.
   In 1900 Whitnel began a campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois, running as a Democrat against five-term incumbent Republican George Washington Smith (1846-1907). Illinois newspapers of the time give note that Smith "had his hands full" running against Whitnel, who actively stumped throughout Illinois's 22nd District over the course of the campaign. An article featured in the October 22, 1900 edition of the St. Louis Republic (shown below) gives note that Whitnel addressed two large crowds in Harrisburg, Illinois a few days previously and was "well received and greeted with great applause at both places."

  When it came time to tally the vote in November 1900, it was George W. Smith who claimed victory in the polls, besting Lindorf Whitnel by a vote of 22, 349 to 17, 528. A result from that election appeared in the Courier-Journal Almanac shortly after the election and is posted below. 

    The 1900 Congressional election stands as the only time Lindorf Whitnel ran for political office, and in 1904 he began renewed success as a railroad attorney, joining up with the Missouri Pacific Railway. He later became the general attorney for this railroad and also served as a district attorney for the St. Louis Southwestern Railway for a number of years. In 1912 Whitnel served as a Democratic Presidential Elector at large for Illinois, casting his ballot for Woodrow Wilson.
   In 1919 Whitnel formed a law partnership with his second eldest son Josiah, operating out of East St. Louis, Illinois. In the year before his death, Lindorf and his wife are recorded as attending an American Bar Association conference in London. While visiting here Whitnel took sick with a "sinus complaint" that later turned into a more serious illness after he returned home to Illinois. This unknown illness eventually claimed Whitnel's life on December 15, 1924 at age 61. His obituary in the Edwardsville, Illinois Intelligencer notes that he expired at a hospital in East St. Louis and was later buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Belleville, Illinois. Whitnel's wife Amanda, daughter Ella and sons Josiah and George all survived him, and the first three mentioned are interred at Mt. Hope.

               Lindorf O. Whitnel's death notice from the December 1924 Edwardsville Intelligencer.