Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stellar Rudolph Light (1877-1961)

   A one-time mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Dr. Stellar Rudolph Light was a prominent physician in his native state who in his later years became an educational and medical benefactor to institutions of higher learning throughout Michigan. Light is honored today on the fifty-second anniversary of his death as the newest profile to be added to the site, and I must note that his unusual first name took a fair bit of digging to locate!
   While information on Light's medical and public career is readily available online, nearly all of the sources mentioning him give his name as "S. Rudolph Light". After some hours of tedious searching in medical journals and newspapers of the time, Light's first name was revealed to be "Stellar", and judging by his success in the fields of medicine and public service, he was aptly named!!
   Born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on March 2, 1877, Stellar Rudolph Light was one of two sons born to the Rev. Ezekiel Light (1834-1903) and his wife. Light's early years in Pennsylvania are unknown at the time of this writing, as is his education.  What is known is that Light decided upon a career as a physician at an early age and eventually enrolled at the University of Michigan's Department of Medicine and Surgery around 1900. Light's name is listed as a "third year student" in the 1903 General Register of the University of Michigan and notes that he was a resident of Dayton, Ohio. This indicates that the Light family relocated from Pennsylvania to Dayton sometime in the late 19th century but an exact date remains uncertain. 

                                           From the 1903 University of Michigan Register.

   In 1904 Light graduated from the University of Michigan and in that same year became an assistant physician at the Kalamazoo State Hospital. His tenure here lasted until 1907, and at some point afterward established a private practice in Kalamazoo. Sources of the time also list him as an "mfg. pharmacist" in that city. Light married in Kalamazoo on June 25, 1908, to Ms. Rachel Winifred Upjohn (1880-1929) with whom he had one son, Rudolph Alvin Light (1909-1970). Rudolph Alvin followed in his father's footsteps and became a noted medical practitioner,  later serving as an associate professor of surgery and director of surgical research at Vanderbilt University during the 1950s. He gained further distinction when he was named as a Commander of the British Empire in 1964 for his earlier service as an educational benefactor and visiting professor of surgery at Oxford. In an interesting historical tidbit, Rudolph Alvin married in 1960 to Ann Rork (1908-1988), a former actress and ex-wife of prominent American billionaire Jean Paul Getty (1892-1976).
   In addition to Dr. Rudolph Alvin, Winifred Upjohn had another son from a previous marriage named Richard Upjohn (1902-1994). Light adopted Richard upon marrying Winifred in 1908 and eventually gave the boy his own last name. Richard Upjohn Light would go on to prominence in his own right, becoming a noted surgeon, pioneer aviator, cinematographer, author and President of the American Geographical Society from 1947-1950.
  While continuing to practice medicine, Light and his father-in-law William Erastus Upjohn (1853-1932) established the Orchard Hills Realty Company in 1916. William Upjohn was already an established figure in Kalamazoo and had established the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company in 1886. S. Rudolph Light first joined this company in 1907 and later became one of its vice presidents in the mid-1910s. In 1919 Light was named as a trustee of the Michigan State Psychopathic Hospital at Ann Arbor, and continued in this position until becoming Mayor of Kalamazoo.

This notice on Light's election as Mayor appeared in the Benton Harbor Palladium in 1929.

   In November 1929 Light was elected as the Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, succeeding outgoing mayor Edward Kennedy who had declined to enter that year's race. Light's inauguration as mayor was somewhat dampened by the passing of his wife Winifred, who had died in April of that year at the young age of 48. 
   Light's term as Mayor concluded in 1931 and in the following year he served as a member of the Kalamazoo City Commission under newly elected mayor Lewis C. Wright. Dr. Light continued involvement in political affairs by serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Michigan in 1936 and 1940. In the mid 1940s he was named as the President of the American National Bank of Kalamazoo. 
   In his later years Light found further distinction as a philanthropist and educational benefactor, donating large sums of money to various institutions both in Michigan and elsewhere. In 1955 he donated funds that led to the establishment of the S.R. Light Laboratory at Vanderbilt University and the S. Rudolph Light Fund as well as the S. Rudolph Light Medical Scholarship were also established in his name.
   Stellar Rudolph Light died in Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Sanitarium on January 27, 1961 at age 84. His death notice gives note that Light had been a resident of that facility since September of 1960 and he was later returned to Kalamazoo to be buried in that city's Mountain Home Cemetery. This cemetery is also notable for being the final resting place of oddly named Michigan Governor, legislator and State Supreme Court justice Epaphroditus Ransom (1798-1859), profiled here back in July of 2011.

This death notice for Light appeared in the Benton Harbor Palladium in 1961.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vardaman Allen Cockrell (1843-1901)

   A native of Platt County, Missouri,  Vardaman Allen Cockrill journeyed to the Montana Territory at a young age and here found success as a farmer and territorial legislator. Cockrell is only the second Montanan to be profiled here on the site (the first being Commodore Perry Bruce) but he certainly won't be the last! Before getting to the main biography I'd like to note that Vardaman Cockrell's last name is recorded as being spelled in a variety of ways, including "Cockerill", "Cockerell" and "Cockrell", and with these many spelling variations, its made finding information on Vardaman rather difficult! Cockrell's gravestone in Bozeman, Montana spells his last name as "Cockrell" and it is that spelling that I've gone with here.
   Vardaman A. Cockrell was born on September 11, 1843 (date also given as 1844) in Platt City, Missouri, the son of Jeremiah Vardaman (died 1859) and Louisa Mayo Cockrell. Jeremiah V. Cockrell is not to be confused with another Jeremiah Vardaman Cockrell (1832-1915) who served as a U.S. Representative from  Texas from 1893-1897. Our subject is recorded as receiving his primary education in the schools of Platt City and later attended the Plattsburg College in Clinton County, Missouri.
  Cockrell left his home in Missouri in 1863 and journeyed north to the Montana Territory, eventually settling in an area referred to as Alder Gulch. He engaged in mining here for a short while and later traveled by ox-train to Utah. The Progressive Men of the State of Montana notes that Cockrill and a number of other settlers began a trek back to Montana that fall but were hampered by a blizzard that forced them to camp in Beaver Canyon for the winter.
  Cockrell and his fellow travelers returned to Montana in the spring of 1864 and in that same year, he found work as a cow herder in the Blacktail Deer Creek area. In December 1864 he removed to the Gallatin Valley area and here established a homestead that he continued to improve upon over the succeeding years. Cockrill added horses, cattle and mares to his farm in the early 1870s and as a farmer was described by the Progressive Men of the State of Montana as being "of eminently scientific turn" and was also Stock Commissioner of Gallatin County for several years and "gave the people of the county excellent service."
   In 1868 Cockrell was elected as Gallatin County's representative in the Montana Territorial  House of Representatives, serving in the legislative term of 1869-1870. Due to the lack of information on Cockrell, it is unknown whether or not he took part in any important legislation during his term of service. A notice mentioning his term appeared in the register of the Society of Montana Pioneers and has been posted below.

   After his brief service in the legislature, Cockrell continued to improve on the state of his farm, named the "Superior Stock Farm", which is listed as being over 1600 acres and having "250 head of horses and 350 head of cattle." In 1876 Cockrill married Marthena "Thena" Winifred Smith (1853-1926), the daughter of a prominent Kirksville, Missouri banker. Vardaman and Thena eventually became the parents of four children, who are listed as follows: Irvin Mackerness (1878-1951), John T. (born 1884), Vardaman Allen (born 1888) and Rolph Goode (1890-1919). 
  In addition to farming, Cockrell is also noted as being heavily involved in mining interests "in different parts of the state", and was remarked as being "at the front line in every business he engaged, being broad-minded, spirited and progressive." Cockrell was also a member of the Society of Montana Pioneers, serving the organization as a vice president in 1885 and 1888. In 1897 he was named to the Montana State Board of Stock Commissioners (representing Gallatin County) and served a two-year term. 
  Vardaman A. Cockrell died in Bozeman, Montana sometime in 1901, when he would have been around 58 years of age. He was interred at the Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman and was survived by his wife Thena, who died in 1926 at age 73. She and her eldest child Irvin M. Cockrell are also interred at Sunset Hills. The portrait of Cockrell featured above was located in the History of Montana: 1739-1885, published by the Warner, Beers, and Co. in 1885.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cranmore Nesmith Wallace (1844-1918)

   A Massachusetts resident who earned distinction in multiple fields during his life, Cranmore Nesmith Wallace served a brief term as Braintree, Massachusetts's representative in the state legislature during the mid-1870s. A lifelong resident of the Bay State, Cranmore N. Wallace was a descendant of a long established family in Massachusetts, being born in Braintree on November 6, 1844. One of four children born to William Vinson and Maria Keene Wallace, Cranmore is recorded as having attended the public schools of Braintree until the age of eighteen, leaving to join the Union Army.
   Wallace's service during the Civil War is notable, as he served as a volunteer in four separate army corps, including both the "Department of North Carolina and the Army of the Potomac." His Boston Evening Globe obituary chronicles Wallace as serving with "distinction in the 42nd and 43rd Massachusetts Regiments" and also notes that he was wounded in battle at Kinston, North Carolina. In addition to seeing action at Kinston, Wallace also fought at the battles of  Whitehall, Goldsboro, Rawles Mills and Little Washington, all located in North Carolina. He later became a Lieutenant and aide-de-camp, serving until the close of the hostilities in 1865.
   After leaving the military Wallace became employed as an office clerk at the Boston Flax Mills in Braintree. Over the next few decades, he worked his way up through the hierarchy of this company, which underwent a name change to become the Ludlow Manufacturing Company. Wallace later became a selling agent and president of this textile mill, and is remarked as being "largely influential in their successful growth." Wallace continued to be actively engaged with this company until his death, and under his stewardship it grew from one mill to over a dozen, eventually having to establish a model town in Ludlow, Massachusetts where many of its mills were built.
  Cranmore Wallace married in April 1873 to Mary Ann Avery, who died shortly after their marriage. Wallace remarried in December 1882 to Eunice Sprague, and both of Wallace's marriages are marked as being childless.

Cranmore N.Wallace during his time in the General Court, circa 1875.

  While still involved in the manufacturing of textiles, Cranmore Wallace was elected to represent Braintree in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives. His one term in this body commenced in 1875 and lasted one term, and during his service, he held a seat on the committee on Leave of Absence. After the conclusion of his legislative term Wallace became water commissioner of Braintree and later served as a member of that town's school committee for a number of years. His later years were highlighted by involvement in numerous civic and fraternal organizations, including the following: trustee of the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital and Massachusetts Soldier's Home, member of the Boston Athletic Association, the New Boston Riding Club, the Algonquin Club, the Eastern Yacht Club, member of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, and the Bostonian Society. Wallace is also noted as being an active parishioner at the Emmanuel Church at Boston, where he served as a vestryman.

                        This sketch of Wallace appeared in the Boston Evening Globe in May 1893.

   In addition to his abundant civic activities, Wallace is mentioned as belonging to a great many veterans organizations, holding memberships in the Society of the Grand Army of the Potomac, the Massachusetts Grand Army of the Republic, and the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. In 1889 he was named as Quartermaster General of the Department of Massachusetts and in 1905 journeyed to Washington for President Roosevelt's inauguration on the staff of Major Gen. Adna Romanza Chaffee (1842-1914).
   In his later years, Wallace and his wife maintained a summer home in the city of Beverly, Massachusetts. He died here on August 26, 1918 at age 74 and was survived by his wife Eunice. A burial location for both Cranmore and his wife is unknown at this time. The large portrait of Wallace at the top of this profile was featured in the Men of Massachusetts, originally published in 1903.

Wallace's obituary from the August 26, 1918 edition of the Boston Evening Globe.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Farnham Orris Bennett (1832-1899), Farnham Manning Sprague (1858-1952)

  Having an interesting surname as a first name seems to be quite prevalent as far as 19th-century politicians are concerned, and the above-pictured man is no exception. A lifelong resident of Connecticut, Farnham Orris Bennett was blessed with an interesting first name and during his life carved a career for himself in the fields of medicine and politics, gaining statewide distinction in the process.
   The son of Connecticut Baptist minister David Bennett (1783-1868) and his wife Clarissa Farnham (1793-1869), Farnham Orris Bennett was born on December 23, 1832 in the village of Monroe. He received his primary schooling in Burlington, Connecticut and eventually moved here with his family at age nine. Bennett later continued his education at the Suffield Academy and began pursuing the study of medicine at the Berkshire Medical College in Massachusetts, graduating with his medical degree in 1859. Shortly after his graduation, he undertook a two-year course in surgery in New York City and after completing this course returned to Westford, Connecticut to open a medical office.
  The history of The Bennett Family:1628-1910 notes that Bennett became a highly regarded medical practitioner in Windham County, and with this distinction came a nomination to the Connecticut State House of Representatives, to which he was elected in 1863. Bennett was returned to the legislature fifteen years later in 1878 and aside from his brief legislative tenure also held the position of Register for the town of Ashford in 1866 and 1873.

                                     Bennett's name on an 1878 roster of Connecticut legislators.

  Farnham O. Bennett married on September 15, 1868 to Romelia Parsons (1851-1907), a native of Rutland, Vermont. Three children were born to the couple and are listed as follows: William H. (born 1869), Frederick Ward (born 1871) and Annie Louise (born 1877). In the same year as his nuptials, Bennett was elected to a seat on the Ashford Board Of Education, serving for an indeterminate length of time.
   Throughout his legislative service and other civic activities, Bennett's medical practice continued to grow, with his often having to travel into many of the surrounding towns and villages to take medical calls. This constant travel eventually necessitated the relocation of his medical practice to the larger city of Willimantic, where he settled around 1881.
  His stay in Willimantic lasted until 1886, whereafter he and his wife removed to Fort Collins, Colorado to better Romelia's health. The couple returned to Willimantic in 1891 and Bennett continued to practice medicine until his own health concerns prevented him from doing so.
  Bennett's last years are chronicled in the 1899 Proceedings of the Connecticut Medical Society as being ones marked by periods of feebleness and impaired health. In the weeks preceding his death, he was confined to his home, and he later expired at the home of his son William on March 26, 1899. The earlier mentioned Proceedings lamented the loss of the popular doctor and legislator, stating that he "was a skillful, conscientious and faithful physician. He was eminently kind to the poor-attending to them gratuitously" and that "many will miss his kindly visits."
   Farnham O. Bennett was later interred in the Bennett family plot at the Knowlton Cemetery in Ashford, Connecticut. He was survived by all three of his children as well as his wife Romelia, who died in Colorado in 1907 at age 56. The rare portrait of Bennett shown above was featured in the history of The Bennett Family: 1628-1910, published in 1910.

From the Genealogical and Family History of Vermont, Volume I, 1903.

  Another man named "Farnham" that made his name known politically was Farnham Manning Sprague of Readsboro. Born in the town of Whitingham on June 23, 1858, Sprague was the son of Manning and Fanny Willard Sprague. The Sprague family relocated to Readsboro when their son was ten and he attended schools local to that town. 
  Following the completion of his schooling, Sprague began a lifelong career as a machinist, learning his trade in various shops in Readsboro. In 1880 he married to Ms. Hattie Jewell and late had two daughters Blanche and Lena. Following Hattie's death in November 1887 Sprague remarried to Etta Chase in August of 1889. After some years plying his trade in Readsboro he became the head of machine work at the National Metal Edge Box Company, and in 1893 took on a position with the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad Company as a foreman and master mechanic.
  The Genealogical and Family History of Vermont notes of Sprague's mechanical skill and also makes light of his being a "firm adherent" to Democratic Party principles. He served Readsboro as city water commissioner for a time and was later elected to represent the city in the Vermont State House of Representatives in 1888 for one term. Sprague left the legislature in 1890 and died in Fort Belvoir, Virginia in 1952 at age 93, and was later interred at the Readsboro Village Cemetery in Bennington County, Vermont.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hoxie Waldo Smith (1893-1962), Hoxie Brown (1819-1906)

  Over the course of the past two centuries thousands of men and women have been elected to serve in the New York State Assembly. The vast annals of the New York State Capitol have seen the likes of such oddly named men as Demosthenes C. LeRoy, Victory Birdseye, , Sextus Heman Hungerford and Beveridge Colin Dunlop, and this author can state with the utmost certainty that the hallowed halls of the New York State Assembly have yielded some of the oddest named individuals you'll ever hear about!
   Among these numerous instances of strangely named New York legislators is Mr. Hoxie Waldo Smith, a representative in the Assembly from Kings County during the early years of the 20th century. While his service in the legislature may have been brief (he served from 1918-1919), Smith was nevertheless a resident of distinction in his native New York, serving during WWI and had earlier been engaged in the brokerage business in Manhattan.
   Hoxie Waldo Smith was born on July 12, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York, one of four sons born to Clifford Hoxie (1851-1915) and Elizabeth Ward Smith (1854-1924). Clifford Hoxie Smith had been a veteran printer in New York City, being connected with the Brooklyn Typographical Union for over forty years. Hoxie W. received his education at Public School 15 and the Commercial Evening High School in New York and was later enrolled in the Dwight Private school. 

A young Hoxie Smith and his father Clifford, photo courtesy of Tim Smith.

   After leaving school Smith began pursuing a career in law but after few months of study "abandoned it to enter the brokerage business." Smith proved successful in this new venture, finding employment with the Goodbody and Co. brokerage firm in Manhattan during the mid-1910s. Smith also became active in New York Democratic political circles during this time and was remarked as making "campaign speeches for many Democratic nominees" during the previous four years.
   Hoxie Smith was eventually nominated for a seat in the New York State Assembly, and in November 1917 narrowly defeated Republican candidate Malcolm Matheson to represent Brooklyn's Tenth district in the legislature. A campaign profile for Smith appeared in an edition of the Brooklyn Standard Union newspaper towards the end of the contest and is shown below.

   At the age of twenty-four, Hoxie W. Smith was the youngest assemblyman to be elected in 1917, and with his youth came a rather unexpected hangup! As mentioned in the Brooklyn Standard article below, Smith's youthful appearance caused some confusion in Albany when the 1918 legislative term began. Shortly after being elected, Smith was mistaken for a page boy by two Tammany Hall Democrats, one of whom palmed Smith a two-dollar bill. Smith (being the honest public servant that he was) shortly thereafter informed the men of his assemblyman status and returned the money!

  A similar incident occurred in January 1919 after Hoxie Smith had won re-election to the assembly. After arriving at the capital to be sworn in, Smith ventured to the office of Deputy New York  Secretary of State Charles Taft to take his oath. Secretary Taft (unaware of who Smith was) mistook the assemblyman for a page boy and told him to leave, stating that then New York Secretary of State Francis Hugo had "no time to see a page boy" and that Smith should come back the following day.
   Understandably indignant, Smith replied "I am not a page. I am an assemblyman and want to be sworn in." Secretary Taft (unmoved by Smith's plea) evidently laughed at the annoyed assemblyman, who then left the office and later returned with witnesses who could verify who he was! Once the matter had been ironed out, Secretary Taft is remarked as "apologizing profusely" to Smith, who eventually took his oath of office. A write up on this humorous incident appeared in the Oswego Palladium on January 8, 1919 and has been posted below.

   While Smith's legislative tenure got off to a rather interesting start in 1918, he immediately set about doing the best job possible for his constituency. He was named to the house committee on social welfare and the committee on banking, and later introduced a bill during his second term that would require people or corporations that gave trading stamps or premium coupons to pay a $1,000 license fee for "each place or store in the county owned by such person or corporation where such stamps are used." 
   Hoxie Smith won a second term in the assembly in November 1918 and midway through his second term is recorded as introducing legislation that would provide "license and license fees for elevators and elevator operators.Mention is also given to Smith resigning during this term to enter military service in WWI, but no elaboration is given as to his rank, length of service or area of deployment.
  Smith was unsuccessful in his bid for a third assembly term in November 1919, losing to Republican candidate Leo V. Doherty by a vote of 10, 287 to 7,329. Not one to let a loss get the best of him, Smith continued to actively follow state politics, even being talked of as a potential state senate candidate in the late 1920s. In August 1921 Smith married in Cedarhurst, New York to Elenore Agnes Madden (1896-1985). The couple are believed to have been childless.
  In late 1926 Smith returned to Albany as the newly installed statistician and market reporter for the New York State Department of Public Markets. His tenure in this post (listed as paying over $5,500 a year) lasted only a few months, with Smith resigning in mid-1927. His resignation proved to be a hot subject that year (as evidenced by the Brooklyn Standard article below) and the news of his resignation completely mystified the Democratic bigwigs in his native Brooklyn!

   After leaving the Department of Public Markets, Smith continued to be involved in New York Democratic politics, becoming the vice chairman of the campaign for Manhattan borough president Samuel Levy, then running for the office of President of the City Council in 1942. 
   Hoxie Smith's life after 1942 is quite sketchy, with very little information being located on him after this date. He died at age 69 on July 17, 1962, in Hackensack, New Jersey and was shortly thereafter interred at the George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Paramus, New Jersey. Elenore Madden Smith survived her husband by over twenty years, dying at age 89 in 1985 and was later buried in the same cemetery as her husband.

   Another "Hoxie" that made his name known politically is Mr. Hoxie Brown, a resident of Colchester in the county of New London, Connecticut. Born in the town of South Kingston, Rhode Island on November 1, 1819, Hoxie removed to the village of Lebanon, Connecticut with his family when he was still a child. He attended schools in both South Kingston and Connecticut and married in 1847 to Ms. Esther Hoxie (born 1822), with whom he would have two sons, Henry H. (1849-1915) and Edwin L. (1858-1930). In his early residency in Connecticut, Brown is mentioned as having involvement with the state militia, although no elaboration is given as to the length of his service.
   Hoxie Brown spent the majority of his life as a successful farmer, eventually removing from Lebanon to the village of Colchester in the mid-1860s. He was elected to the Connecticut State House of Representatives in 1879 from New London County and is also remarked as receiving "many recognitions from his townsmen" both before and after his stint in state government.
   After his brief service in the legislature, Brown continued to operate his farm in Colchester,  later serving as a member of the Colchester Board of Health in 1886. Esther H. Brown died in 1901 at age 79 and Hoxie himself died on July 31, 1906 at age 86. Both were later buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Colchester. The rare portrait of him above was featured in the Illustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut, published in 1891. This informative work has also yielded portraits (and information) on Luzon Burritt Morris and Supply Twyng Holbrook, both profiled on the site in past articles.

Monday, January 14, 2013

De La Mancha Bruggemeyer (1865-1949)

From the Chicago Bar Association Record Volume I, October 1910.

    This curiously named public servant is De La Mancha Bruggemeyer, a prominent Chicago based jurist during the early years of the twentieth century. Listed by sources of the time as "Mancha Bruggemeyer", few details on Bruggemeyer's early life could be found online, but enough has been located to compile a small biography for him here on the site.
   De La Mancha Bruggemeyer was born in Lewisham, Kent, England on July 4, 1865, a son of William J. and Ellen M. Bruggemeyer, and is recorded in the 1871 England and Wales Census as a five year old child with three siblings, Ellen M. (aged four), Charles E. (aged two) and Elizabeth W.C. (infant). The origins of his unusual first name are also a mystery, but one can assume that it was a way of honoring literary figure Don Quixote (the man from La Mancha) who resided in the like-named region in central Spain. The February 19, 1977 edition of the Redlands Daily Facts periodical gives a brief note on his childhood, relating that Bruggemeyer's father died when he was seven and his mother later brought her "brood of five to America" while Mancha was still a child.
  The Bruggemeyer family eventually settled in Chicago, where Mancha is recorded as working as "a cash boy at age nine", and later found employment in a local clothing factory as a shirt cutter. Mancha continued in this line of work into his twenties and later began pursuing the study of law, attending night school in his spare time. He attended the Chicago Law School for three years and was admitted to the state bar in 1892. 
   After being admitted to practice, Bruggemeyer wasted no time in looking for a law office to partner in, which he eventually found in one Joseph G. Strauss. The Bruggemeyer-Strauss partnership lasted until 1895, whereafter Mancha began a solo law practice that became defunct in 1906.
  In November of 1906 Bruggemeyer was elected as a Judge for the newly established Municipal Court of Chicago. His tenure on the bench lasted four years, concluding in 1910, after which he continued in the practice of law. The rare portrait of him below is a campaign postcard made during his re-election bid for judge sometime between 1906 and 1910. Bruggemeyer would marry in 1912 Roberta Pauline Zimmerman (a widow then in her 40s), and the two were married until her passing in August 1928. It is unknown at the time of this writing if any children were born to them.

   Mancha Bruggemeyer retired from the practice of law in 1923 and in the following year removed from Chicago to the city of Redlands in San Bernardino County, California. Roberta Pauline Bruggemeyer died in Redlands in 1928 and Mancha established the Bruggemeyer Memorial Library as a memorial to her. Sometime after his wife's passing Bruggemeyer became acquainted with a local librarian named Nell Helen Jones (1889-1960) and married her in April 1929.
   During the latter portion of his life, Bruggemeyer became a prominent civic leader in Redlands, serving a four-year term on the local city council in 1934. In April 1936 he won election as Mayor of Redlands, succeeding mayor Will L. Fowler and would serve a two-year term. After leaving office in 1938 Bruggemeyer continued to be active in local civic affairs and died at a Monterey Park hospital on June 16, 1949, aged 83. His second wife Nell survived him by eleven years, dying in 1960. Both were buried in the San Gabriel Cemetery in Los Angeles.

From the San Bernardino Sun, April 21, 1936. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kester Winfield Staib (1865-1915), Kester Ulm Snyder (1891-1961)

Portrait from the Middletown Daily Times

   Hailing from the small town of Hancock in Delaware County, New York, Kester Winfield Staib's career on the New York political stage was quite brief, lasting all of a few months. His placement here on the site rests on his short tenure as Mayor of the city of Middletown, New York in 1903, after which he removed to New York City to began a new career as an architectural draughtsman.
   Born in Peakville, New York in 1865, Kester Winfield Staib was one of two sons born to Henry and Adaline Fuller Staib. Kester and his family removed to New York City shortly after his birth and it was here that he attended school. Staib later studied at the Hancock Union School and went on to graduate from the Lowell Business School in Binghamton.
   On October 17, 1892 Staib married in New York to Ms. Mary Kane, and they later became the parents of one daughter, Virginia Fuller Staib (born 1901). The Staib family removed to Middletown, New York sometime in the mid-1890s, where Kester became employed as a roadmaster's clerk in the chief engineer's office of the Ontario and Western Railroad. Staib later left this employ and was elected as a Democratic alderman for Middletown, later becoming President of the Common Council of that city in the early 1900s.
  In February 1903 then Mayor of Middletown George W. O'Neil (1851-1936) resigned after serving only three months in office. As president of the Common Council, Kester Staib assumed the position of Mayor and served out the remainder of O'Neil's term, which concluded at the end of 1903. Staib did not run for his own term as Mayor in 1904 and Aaron J. Hornbeck won that year's election. Staib returned to life as a private citizen and underwent a career change of sorts when he removed back to New York City in 1904. Here he began the study of architecture and later designed houses in both New York and New Jersey, while also being engaged in the manufacture of a "leading window device" with his father. Staib's obituary also lists him as being a member of the "police force of the Croton aqueduct"  as well as being a foreman at the Monhagen Hose Company.
  Kester Winfield Staib died at his home in Brooklyn on July 20, 1915, at age 49. The cause of death was listed in his Middletown Daily Times obituary as a result of "acute indigestion", and his remains were later removed to his native town of Hancock for burial in the St. Paul's Cemetery. Staib's wife Mary and daughter Virginia both survived him.

 From the 1915 Middletown Times.

                An obituary for Staib that appeared in the Middletown Daily Times on July 22, 1915.

Portrait from the Kansas Government Journal.

   A lifelong resident of Kansas, Kester Ulm "K.U." Snyder represented Johnson County in the Kansas State Senate for two terms beginning in the late 1940s. Born on September 9, 1891, in Ashland, Kansas, Kester U. Snyder was the son of William Kester and Della Amanda Snyder. Known by the nickname "Kess", Snyder would study at the Kansas State Agricultural College until 1914, whereafter he left to join the U.S. Navy. He would serve in the Navy during the First World War and upon returning to Kansas engaged in farm work.
  In the early 1930s Snyder enrolled at the Kansas City School of Law and following his graduation practiced law in both Kansas and Missouri. In 1948 he was elected to the Kansas State Senate from that state's 6th district and would serve two terms, the last concluding in 1953. He would later run an unsuccessful candidacy for Probate Judge of Johnson County and died at Bucyrus, Kansas on March 30, 1961 at age 69. He was survived by his second wife Mina (1898-1997) and was interred at the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Channel Pickering Townsley (1833-1907)

    A native son of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, Channel Pickering Townsley removed to Missouri at an early age, and as an adolescent sought his business and political fortunes in the county of Pettis. A one-term member of the Missouri State Senate, Townsley later became a district court judge in Missouri before removing to Barton County, Kansas, where he found further prominence as a newspaper publisher.
   Channel P. Townsley was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania on February 14, 1833, one of several children born to Channel Pickering and Mary Griffin Townsley.  The Townsley family left the confines of Huntingdon and resettled in Boonville, Missouri, where Channel Sr. engaged in the manufacture of carriages. The Biographical History of Barton County, Kansas (which gives a decent overview of the Townsley family) notes that Channel Sr. was bitten by the gold rush bug in the early 1850s and migrated to California. Here he became acquainted with Asian natives who were conducting trade in San Francisco. Channel Sr. is later mentioned as visiting China, where he died sometime in 1856.
  Channel P. Townsley, the subject of the profile, received his education in Boonville at the Kemper Institute, while also learning the carriage building trade at his father's shop. In the early 1850s, Townsley began pursuing a career in law and was eventually admitted to the bar in Pettis County. Soon afterward he established a law office in Georgetown, Missouri and in the late 185os became city attorney for Georgetown, serving in this capacity until 1861.
   Townsley put his law practice on hold in 1861, signing on for service in the Civil War. He joined the 40th Regiment of the Missouri State Militia. He served throughout the duration of the war, seeing action at Wilson's Creek and eventually reached the rank of captain. Townsley was mustered out of service at the war's conclusion and returned to practicing law in Pettis County. In December 1865 Townsley married to Laura Moses (1848-1915), with whom he would have ten children, including Channel P. (1867-1921), Florence Evelyn (born 1869), Laura Emma (1870-1874), Theodora Alice (died aged three months in 1872), Jessie Stuart (died aged five months in 1874), George Leopold (died aged five months in 1877), Edward Moses (died aged seven months in 1879), William Lawrence (born 1881), Charles Reuben Francis (born 1884) and Laura (born 1891). Two of Townsley's sons went on to distinction in their own right, with Channel P. becoming a noted American artist while William Lawrence became the editor of the Great Bend Tribune.
   In 1866 Channel Townsley was elected as attorney for Pettis County and in the following year won a seat in the Missouri State Senate as a Republican. His two-year stint in the senate saw Townsley serve on the committee on the penitentiary, and a roster from that legislative session (bearing his name) is shown below.

   Shortly after his Senate term concluded in 1869 Townsley was elected as a judge for Missouri's Fifth Judicial District, serving on the bench for six years. In 1875 he removed from Missouri to Barton County, Kansas and shortly after his arrival established a law practice in the town of Great Bend. In 1876 Townsley switched his attention from public service to publishing, becoming the founder of the Inland Tribune. The Biographical History of Barton County notes that the paper "pertained to the interests of the Republican party and the farming community" and it received "a wide circulation throughout the Arkansas Valley, where its influence was widely felt." Townsley's paper underwent a name change in the early 1880s, switching to the Great Bend Tribune. One can also note that the Tribune is still in existence today, nearly 140 years after its establishment!
   The remainder of Townsley's life saw him become a figure of distinction throughout Barton County, being acknowledged as "unswerving in his fidelity to the people, honest in his beliefs and politically often took a stand foreign to the desire of party bosses, but which in the end proved him right." Townsley died in Great Bend at age 74 on August 4, 1907, "after a period of three years of suffering from a nervous breakdown." He was later interred at the Great Bend Cemetery and was survived by his wife Laura, who died in 1915 at age 67. The rare portrait of Mr. Townsley shown above (and very likely the only one to be found online) was featured in the earlier mentioned Biographical History of Barton County, originally published in 1912.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Zuar Eldridge Jameson (1835-1886)

Portrait from the Jamesons in America: 1637-1900.

   Irasburg, Vermont resident Zuar Eldridge Jameson is honored today on the 127th anniversary of his death as the newest addition to the Strangest Names In American Political History. With a first name that brings to mind a comic book villain (oh no! Look out! It's ZUAR!) this intriguingly named Vermonter has an interesting backstory to his short political career, one that I couldn't wait to chronicle here! Jameson was involved in agricultural matters in Vermont for many years, including breeding cattle, being an agricultural correspondent for the New York Tribune, a member of the state board of agriculture, and was also a short story fiction writer. While obviously being a man of many talents, it is Jameson's brief tenure in the Vermont State House of Representatives that earns him a place here on the site. 
  While his name is certainly one of the stranger ones you'll read about here, a fair amount of information can be found online in regards to Jameson's life, which is quite surprising considering the overall obscurity of the man. Despite living to be only fifty years old, Jameson left a substantial legacy in Vermont agricultural circles, and over a century after his death in 1886, Jameson's name was prominently featured in Paul Searls' 2006 work Two Vermonts: Geography and Identity, 1865-1910. This informative book yielded many interesting tidbits on Jameson's life, and I count it as one of the most important resources when it came to doing research for this profile.
   Zuar Jameson's story begins with his birth in Irasburg on January 5, 1835, the sixth of eleven children born to Alexander (1798-1871) and Sarah Knowles Locke Jameson (1804-1863).  Zuar's parents had migrated from New Hampshire to Irasburg some years previously, and our subject received his unusual name in honor of Alexander Jameson's cousin Zuar Eldridge (1760-1812), with whom Alexander resided during his youth in New Hampshire.
  Zuar E. Jameson is recorded as attending public schools in the Irasburg area and was later enrolled in a private academy. Little could be found on Jameson's early life after completing his education, although the earlier mentioned Two Vermonts notes that Zuar taught school for a time in Irasburg whilst still a teenager. The Jameson family history (entitled the Jamesons In America: 1647-1900) remarks that he embarked upon a career in farming at an early age and was engaged in this pursuit for all his life. Jameson married in Irasburg on June 25, 1860 to Rhode Island-born Mary Ellen Wilcox (born 1842), with whom he had four children: Arthur Lincoln (1867-1930), Grace Winfred (born 1867), Isadore Darling (died aged ten months in 1877) and Bessie Antoinette (died aged two months in 1878). 
    All of the sources that mention Zuar Jameson take note of his active involvement in the Vermont agriculture, and despite his short lifespan, was a prominent leader in Orleans County farming circles for many years, serving as the secretary of that county's Agricultural Society. Among his many accomplishments in the agricultural field were the breeding of new cattle varieties and "being a writer and lecturer on agricultural topics", such as the article below, published in an 1868 edition of the New England Farmer. In said article Jameson notes that he used a mixture of sulphuric acid and phosphate rock ("Vermont superphosphate") fertilizer to better the condition of soil and growth of his crops, including corn and turnips.

   In addition to publishing scholarly agricultural editorials in periodicals like the New York Tribune, the Albany Country Gentleman, and the Boston Cultivator, Jameson is also mentioned as being a short story fiction writer by the Jamesons In America family history. These stories are remarked as "usually treating of rural life" and were published under his own name as well as pseudonyms. This same work also notes that Jameson was the editor of the Vermont Farmer, then regarded as among the "most successful of Vermont agricultural journals." 
   In 1870 Jameson became a member of the Vermont State Board of Agriculture, Manufacture, and Mining, and during his four-year tenure on this board proved to be an influential voice in advocating agricultural education in Vermont. Both before and during his board service Jameson launched a one-man campaign against the stagnant condition of the Vermont State Agricultural College, noted as being established in the mid-1860s but after five years of existence "still had no facilities or students". The college's decrepit state eventually led Jameson to compose a letter in the Newport, Vermont Express in which he voiced his concerns about the languishing state of the school, and because of Jameson's criticism, the school and its trustees began a program "intended to provide lectures and week-long conferences to Vermont farmers on modern agricultural techniques" starting in the early 1870s.
   Throughout the 1870s Jameson continued to gain prominence throughout Vermont, becoming a leading figure and lecturer in the Vermont State Grange, as well as holding a membership in the State Dairymen's Association. In 1874 he left the Agricultural Board and four years later was elected to the Vermont State House of Representatives from his home county of Orleans. His one term in the legislature began in January 1878 and would serve as chairman of the committee on Agriculture. A small biographical notice for Jameson appeared in the 1878 Vermont Legislative Directory and is shown below.

   After leaving the legislature in 1880 Jameson continued active involvement in the state grange, as well as publishing newspaper columns and essays, many of which appeared in the Vermont Watchman. In 1885 he published a large column in the Watchman detailing the success of his farm's apple orchards, stating that it consisted of five hundred trees and that "it receives constant praise in regards to its thrifty appearance." This article also details that Jameson sold countless bushels of apples that season for "a dollar a bushel, and fed many of the imperfect ones" to the five pigs living on his farm.
   Zuar Eldridge Jameson died at his farm in Irasburg on January 4, 1886, a day before his 51st birthday. The immediate cause of his death is noted as an "injury sustained by a fall on the ice" (this according to his Orleans County Monitor death notice), though "pulmonary trouble" is also given as a contributing factor. He was shortly thereafter buried at the Irasburg Cemetery, which is also the resting place of both of his parents. Jameson was memorialized by the Jameson's In America as having been 
"Energetically and physically devoting brain and muscle, in the spirit of broad Christian philanthropy, to his fellow farmers and fellow man."

This death notice for Jameson appeared in the Middlebury Register a few days after his death.