Friday, May 31, 2013

Summerfield Axley Key (1834-1891), Summerfield Still Alexander (1887-1958), Summerfield J. Miller (1859-1931)

Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

    A Confederate veteran and lawyer from Tennessee, Summerfield Axley Key earns a slot here on the Strangest Names In American Political History due to his service in the Tennessee General Assembly, as well as serving as Chancellor for Tennessee's Third Chancery District. One of four children born to John and Mary Armitage Key, Summerfield A. Key was born on October 14, 1834 in Monroe County, Tennessee. While Summerfield Key would attain prominence in state politics, the Key family could also boast of David McKendree Key (1824-1900), a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, federal judge and U.S. Postmaster General under Rutherford Hayes.
   A student in the Monroe County schools, Summerfield Key went on to attend both the Hiwassee College and the Carson Newman College in Jefferson City. In 1855 he removed to Chattanooga to begin the study of law in the law office of his brother David, and after a period of study was admitted to the state bar. Key would join his brother's firm in the late 1850s and in 1861 put his profession on hold to enlist in the Confederate Army. In April of that year, Key took rank as a private in the Nineteenth Tennessee Infantry and was later transferred to the Forty-Third Tennessee Infantry, with which he would serve until war's conclusion. During the final days of the war, Key was a member of a military escort to President Jefferson Davis and remained in his service until Davis' capture in Georgia in May 1865.
   Following his return to Tennessee, Summerfield Key recommenced with his law practice and in December 1871 married to Mary Divine, to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have three children, John Divine (1875-1921), Elizabeth Key Johnston (1873-1948) and Mary Key Mayfield (1879-1971).
   Acknowledged by his contemporaries as "one of the ablest and most honored members of the bar of Southern Tennessee", Summerfield Key entered the political life of his state in 1876 when he was elected as Hamilton County's representative to the Tennessee General Assembly. Taking his seat at the start of the 1877-78 session, Key sat on the committee on Public Buildings and Public Grounds, and also served as chairman pro tem of the committee on Enrolled Bills.

Summerfield Key and his wife, from "Chattanooga's Forest Hills Cemetery", 2011.

   After leaving the state assembly Key returned to practicing law in Chattanooga and reached his highest degree of political prominence in 1886 when he was named as Chancellor of the Third Chancery District of Tennessee, a position that saw him serve as a judge presiding over a chancery court. Key would serve in that capacity until his death on June 14, 1890, and his time on the bench was later remarked as having been devoted to "clarity" and "unswerving devotion to the conservation of equity and justice." Key was survived by his wife Mary, who, following her death in 1927, was interred alongside her husband at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga.
  While Key's name is most certainly unusual, there is some confusion as to his middle name, as it is variously given as both Axley and Armitage. Both of these names are listed in works highlighting Key's life (some published shortly after his death) and despite Armitage being his mother's maiden name, the name Axley appears to be the correct one, as it is inscribed on his headstone at the Forest Hills Cemetery.

   A prominent public official in Kansas for over three decades, Summerfield Still Alexander parlayed a successful career as a lawyer into a term as U.S. District Attorney for Kansas and later launched a candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1942. 
    Born in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri on August 15, 1887, Summerfield Still Alexander was the son of Henry Clay and Mary Elizabeth (Ammons) Alexander. No information could be found in regard's to Alexander's childhood in Missouri or why he was endowed with the impressive first name "Summerfield". He removed from Missouri to Kansas during his adolescence and enrolled at the University of Kansas in the early 1900s. He would graduate in the class of 1907 and shortly thereafter began the practice of law in Kingman County, Kansas.
  On September 1, 1910, Alexander married to Anna Belle Horner, and in that same year was elected as county attorney for Kingman County at the age of just 23. He served in this post from 1910-1912 and later went on to serve as city attorney for Kingman for nearly a decade. 
  While continuing as a practicing attorney, Alexander immersed himself in Democratic political circles in Kansas, serving as the chairman of the Democratic State Convention held in the city of Lawrence in 1932. That same year he actively campaigned for U.S. Senator George McGill's reelection bid, which proved successful. McGill himself proposed Alexander's name for the position of U.S. District Attorney for Kansas, and in 1935 Alexander was tapped to head that post. He served as District Attorney until his resignation in June 1942, and in that year launched his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas'5th district.
  Running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican state, Alexander was unsuccessful in his bid for Congress, losing to incumbent Republican Clifford Ragsdale Hope by a vote of 27,381 to 54,677. Hope (1893-1970) had served fifteen years in Congress prior to defeating Alexander and managed to keep his house seat for a further fifteen years, not being a candidate for renomination in 1956. Not one to a let a loss get the best of him, Alexander continued to be an active public servant during his later years and would serve as a member of the Kansas delegation to the Democratic National Convention of 1952 in Chicago.
  Earlier in his life, Summerfield S. Alexander had remarried to a certain Josephine G. (last name unknown at this time) and the date of their marriage also remains unknown. On June 1, 1957, both Summerfield and Josephine were severely injured in a car-truck accident near Wichita, with Josephine expiring a few days following the crash. Also injured in this accident were Kansas District Judge Clark Adolphus Wallace (1889-1963) and his wife Anna, both of whom survived their injuries. Alexander was treated for his injuries and remained under hospital care for a number of months, eventually succumbing to his injuries on January 13, 1958, at a hospital in Wichita. He was 70 years old at the time of his death and was later interred at the Walnut Hill Cemetery in Kingman, Kansas. 
  The death notice below appeared in the Hutchinson, Kansas News on January 14, 1958, and lists a number of Alexander's surviving relatives, including a step-daughter. 

The Hutchinson News, January 14, 1958.

From the Clearfield Progress, July 12, 1917.

   Another "Summerfield" that made his name known in political circles is Summerfield J. Miller of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Little could be found online in regards to this oddly named man, but a small biography in a 1921 Smull's Legislative Handbook of Pennsylvania helped significantly in fielding information!
  Miller was born in Pike Township, Pennsylvania on August 26, 1859, and received his education at the Curwensville Normal School, graduating in the class of 1879. He later went on to attend the Williamsport Commercial College (graduating in 1881) before deciding upon a career in medicine. He studied at the University of New York's medical school, graduating from here in 1886. He returned to Pennsylvania and opened a practice in the town of Ansonville. He practiced in this town for nearly a decade, eventually removing to the town of Madera. Pennsylvania.
  Miller's years in Madera saw him become not only a prominent local physician but a noted civic leader as well. In addition to his medical practice, Miller served as a school director for the township of Bigler, president of the Madera Water Company, and was a past vice president and director of the Madera National Bank.
  Summerfield Miller was elected to his first term in the Pennsylvania Senate in 1914, representing the counties of Clearfield and Centre. He won re-election to the Senate in 1918 and during his second term served on the Health Insurance Commission that had been created by an act of the legislature in 1919. Miller's second term in the senate concluded in 1922 and he died nine years later on November 10, 1931 at age 72. He was survived by his wife Emma Klare Miller (died 1947) and five of his children.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Londus Fullington Terrill (1837-1907)

  Sporting a pair of fashionable sideburns, Vermont merchant, soldier and state legislator Londus Fullington Terrill is one of many oddly named men to have been elected to a term in the Vermont legislature during the 19th century, and he joins an already lengthy list of unusually named Vermont politicians to have been profiled here over the past year or so. 
  Born in the village of Underhill, Vermont, Londus F. Terrill was one of five children born to Asaph Lee (born 1803) and Ruth Fullington Terrill (1808-1897), both natives of Chittenden County. Terrill's early life in Underhill was spent on the family farm, and he attended schools local to his hometown, later studying at the Barre Academy in Barre, Vermont. During his youth, Terrill is recorded as having "taught school four winters" but did not make a profession out of teaching. He married in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1860 to Susan A. Fernald (1838-1901), and to this union was born four sons, George Edrick (1861-1899), Frederick E. (1864-1946), Willis Ethel (1866-1936) and Arthur Leon (born 1871). 
  In September 1862 Terrill joined in the ongoing war effort, enlisting in Company F of the 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry. He was appointed as a corporal in this unit and is acknowledged by the 1910 Pictorial History Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers as having "participated in all of its actions and in the Battle of Gettysburg". Terrill was mustered out of service in July 1863 and returned to Underhill, where in 1868 he was appointed as town postmaster, serving in this post until 1879.

From the 1910 Pictorial History of the Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers.

  Throughout the 1870s and early 1880s, Terrill served as Underhill constable and collector, and was recorded by the Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chittenden County, Vermont (1882-1883) as being a "dealer in dry goods and general merchandise". This same work also lists him as an "agent for Studebaker farm wagons and Franklin Co. churns and butter workers". Terrill also served as a director of the Burlington and Lamoille Railroad for a number of years.
   Aside from his service in offices local to the town of Underhill, Terrill had never served in elected office prior to 1885. In November of that year, he was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives and served during the legislative session of 1886-1888. Following his term in the House, Terrill won election to the Vermont State Senate in November 1887, taking his seat in January of the new year. His term lasted from 1888-1890 and during his service held a seat on the committees on Railroads and State Prisons. In his later years, Terrill continued in general merchandise business and also took an active role in local veterans organizations, serving as a Vermont delegate to the National Encampments of 1882, 1883 and 1884.
  In 1901 Terrill's wife of forty years died. Following Susan Fernald Terrill's death, Londus remarried in Boston, Massachusetts in October 1904 to widow Ruth Congdon Moseley, and the couple resided in Wakefield, Massachusetts until his death at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on December 10, 1907. His remains were later returned to Vermont and interred at the Underhill Flats Cemetery, the same resting place as that of his parents and first wife. 
  It should also be noted that two of Terrill's surviving sons went on to distinguished careers in their own right, with George Edrick Terrill following his father into successful merchandising and legislative service (serving in the session of 1892), and Willis Ethel becoming a prominent pharmacist and druggist, serving as President of the Vermont State Pharmaceutical Association from 1897-1899. One can note that both George and Willis bear a remarkable resemblance to their father, as evidenced by the portraits below!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Peruvia Joseph Goodness (1883-1933)

  The life of humorously named Hawaiian Territorial legislator Peruvia J. Goodness is examined today, and it is worth noting that Goodness is the first politician from the Hawaiian Islands to be honored with a profile here on the site. The following summation on Goodness and his career in the public forum will be rather brief, as information on him has proven to be difficult to come by (despite my best efforts at looking!)
  Peruvia J. Goodness was born in Hawaii on April 17, 1883, and was an adopted son of William Goodness (1828-1901). Research indicates that William Goodness was one of Wailuku, Hawaii's more prominent residents, being the founder and owner of the Bismarck Stables in that town. He had earlier served during the Mexican-American War and later saw action on the side of the Peruvian Army during a fracas between Peru and Chile in the mid 19th century.
   Nothing could be found in regards to Peruvia's childhood or education, and it is presumed that his schooling occurred on the island of Maui, where he resided for the majority of his life. His first name is also spelled as "Peruvian" by a few genealogical website listings. Goodness married twice during his short life, the first being to Maria Alo (1885-1922) and later to Victoria Alo (1883-1923) who died at age 40. One son was born to Peruvia, Reuben Antonious Goodness (1901-1970).
  Goodness was first elected to the Hawaii Territorial Legislature in 1904, at age 21. An article on his election to the legislature appeared in the Hawaii Gazette in September 1904 and is shown below. He represented the county of Maui during his service and continued to serve in the legislature well into the 1920s. A Maui News article from November 1920 denotes Goodness' service and also lists him as serving on the committee on Public Lands and Internal Improvements and the committee on Accounts and Public Expenditures during that session of the legislature. 

From the Sept. 2, 1904 edition of the Hawaii Gazette.

  All told, Goodness served in the legislature in 1904, 1913, 1915, 1920, 1921 and in 1929. He also served in the Territorial Senate from 1923-1927, representing Hawaii's 2nd district. The Maui News also notes that he served as "Examiner of Chauffeurs" for the County of Maui in the early 1920s. Goodness died in Maui on September 23, 1933, at just 50 years old, and was shortly thereafter interred at the Iao Community Cemetery in Wailuku, Hawaii. Goodness' two wives and son Reuben are also buried here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Iretus Wells Jacoby (1868-1944)

  A citizen of distinction in both Colorado and Nebraska, Mr. Iretus Wells Jacoby succeeded in multiple fields of interest during his life, being a miner, farmer, cowboy and state legislator. While Nebraska has fielded several famed politicians over the years (President Gerald Ford, Julius Sterling Morton, George W. Norris and Chuck Hagel among them), the amount of strangely named politicians hailing from the Cornhusker State isn't as great as you might imagine, with only 40 or so being discovered by me over the past ten years or so.
  Born in Mt. Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa on September 9, 1868, Iretus W. "I.W." Jacoby was one of seven children born to Samuel Rush (1823-1903) and Julia Ann Ball Jacoby (1825-1916). No information could be found on Jacoby's early years, accepting notice of his removing with his family to the Lancaster, Nebraska area while still a child. 
  I.W. Jacoby married in Lincoln, Nebraska on April 1, 1890, to Sarah Jane "Jennie" Dimick (1868-1939), with who he had four children, Harley North (1895-1962), Henry Franklin (1896-1976), Julia Ann (1898-1955), and Marjorie (1900-1935).
  Jacoby is recorded as residing in Colorado during the early 1890s and was employed as a marshal during his stay here. Notice is also given to his being a gold and silver miner, prospector, cowboy, Indian fighter while living here, but no source elaborates on how long he was engaged in any of those occupations. In the mid-1890s, Jacoby returned to Nebraska and began a long career as a farmer and agriculturalist, and a 1945 legislative resolution honoring him notes that "agriculture was his chief interest, and that brought him his greatest pleasure." 
  In November 1923 Jacoby was elected as a Democrat to the Nebraska State House of Representatives from Lancaster County and served in the legislative term of 1924-26. Following his term in state government, Jacoby returned to farming and maintained memberships in the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Central Lancaster County Farmers Club, and was a parishioner at the Methodist Church in Havelock, Nebraska. 
Iretus W. Jacoby died on June 12, 1944 at age 75 and was interred at the Rosehill Cemetery in Waverly, Nebraska. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Poindexter Dunn (1834-1914)

From the June 10, 1893 edition of the New York Tribune.

   While a name like "Poindexter" usually brings to mind a freckle-faced bespectacled nerd with a pocket protector, you'd probably never guess that there was a United States Representative with "Poindexter" as a first name!  That man is one Poindexter Dunn, a five-term congressman from Arkansas who also distinguished himself as a lawyer and cotton planter in his native state. One of a great many "faceless" politicians that I've located over the years, this funnily named congressman continually stymied me out of a portrait of himself for many a year, and I eventually gave up hope that I'd locate one. 
  Earlier this year I finally managed to locate a picture of Mr. Dunn, courtesy of the ever useful Chronicling America newspaper archive. I'm proud to relate that the above portrait of Poindexter Dunn is (to my knowledge) the first picture of him to be available online, and the rarity of said portrait is only strengthened by the fact that not even the famed Congressional Biographical Directory ( has a picture of him!!!
   The son of Grey and Lydia Baucum Dunn, Poindexter Dunn was born on November 3, 1834, near Raleigh, North Carolina. The Dunn family left North Carolina when their son was about six years of age and resettled in the county of Limestone, Alabama, and it was here that Poindexter attended local schools. He later enrolled at the Jackson College in Columbia, Tennessee, graduating from here in the class of 1854
   Shortly after completing his education Dunn began pursuing a career in law and around this time removed to the county of St. Francis in Arkansas. Within a few years of his resettlement Dunn had built up a reputation as a successful cotton grower, and in 1858 was elected to a term in the Arkansas State House of Representatives. Early in his Arkansas residency Dunn married to a Ms. Ellenora (also spelled Ellanora) Patton, about whom little is known. Dunn later remarried to another Arkansas resident, Anna Fussell (1845-1901), with whom he had two daughters, Anna Mae Estes Dunn (1883-1939) and Dorothea Dunn (died as an infant in 1888.) 
  At the dawn of the Civil War in 1861, Dunn joined the ranks of the Confederacy, being elected as a company Captain, but is remarked as never seeing armed combat. Following his military service Dunn returned to his earlier law studies and in 1867 was admitted to the bar. His career as an attorney was one of marked success, with the first volume of the Biographical and Pictorial History of Arkansas denoting that Dunn's "reputation as a gifted orator soon spread beyond local barriers, and pointed him out as the coming politician of his age."
   During the early 1870s, Dunn began to immerse himself in politics, being named as a Democratic Presidential elector for Arkansas in 1872 and 1876. In the 1878 election year he mounted a campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, and in November won the election by a vote of 8,836 (with no opposition!) Dunn won his second term in the house in 1880, defeating Republican candidate John R. Johnson by a vote of 15, 753 to 10, 407. Judging by vote totals during the time that Dunn served in Congress, he seldom faced serious opposition during his reelection bids, and during his last run for Congress in 1886 was elected without any opposition whatsoever!
   Throughout his five terms in Congress Dunn is remarked as being a thorn in the side of the large railroad companies that existed during the late 19th century. The Political Reformation of 1884, Volume 28 acknowledges that during the 1882-83 congressional term
 "due credit must be given to the men who threw themselves into the breach to save the peoples lands. During the whole vacation of Congress, the Hons. W.S. Rosecrans, of California, and Poindexter Dunn, of Arkansas,  were in Washington, and never failed to interpose an objection at the Interior Department whenever the railroads tried to take an advantage." 
   The W.S. Rosecrans mentioned in the above passage is none other than former Union General William Stark Rosecrans (1819-1898), who was elected to Congress from California in 1880. It's interesting to see that a former Union General and a Confederate Captain worked together while in Congress to curb the abuses of railroad monopolies of the period! During the latter period of his service, Dunn chaired the house committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and was later named to a seat on the committee on Indian Depredation Claims.

From the May 10, 1893 edition of the Los Angeles Herald.

   Dunn refused to be a candidate for reelection in 1888, having served ten years as an Arkansas representative. In that same year, he removed from Arkansas to Los Angeles, California, establishing a law practice here until his relocation in 1893. Dunn was later appointed by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John G. Carlisle to a special commission "on the prevention of frauds on the customs revue" in the New York Custom's House and Appraisers Stores. In 1895 Dunn relocated to Baton Rouge, Lousiana where he took an interest in railroad construction. He finally settled in Bowie County, Texas in 1905, and died shortly before his 80th birthday in Texarkana on October 12, 1914. He was shortly thereafter interred in the Rose Hill Cemetery in that city and was preceded in death by his second wife Ann, who had died thirteen years previously and was buried in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

McNary Beecher Frump (1853-1919)

From the Legislative and State Manual of Indiana, 1907.

   An obscure resident of Clay County, Indiana, McNary Beecher Frump served one term in the Indiana State House of Representatives during the early 20th century and was a farmer and schoolteacher. Born in Clay County on May 6, 1853, McNary B. Frump was the son of John (1822-1919) and Betsey Jane Matthews Frump (1826-1901). The Frump family consisted of eleven children, of which our subject was the third born. His early years were spent on the family farm in Washington Township and he received his education in schools local to his home county of Clay.
   Mentioned by the Legislative and State Manual of Indiana as being "a diligent student" during his school years, McNary Frump embarked upon a career as a school teacher while still a young man, and continued in this profession for a number of years. One can almost wonder if schoolchildren back in the late 1870s ever gave the humorously named "Mr. Frump" a difficult time while he was trying to teach!
   McNary Frump married in Clay County on December 28, 1880 to Ms. Artie M. Orman (1856-1926), and the couple later became the parents of seven children over eighteen years time. The Frump children are listed as follows in order of their birth: Gladys (died aged two months in 1881), Clifford (died at birth in 1882), Kenneth Xychus (1883-1962), Iris C. (1885-1979), Deloris Alma Frump Hoffa (1887-1973), Oldys (1889-1984) and Aurel B. Frump Schopmeyer (1898-1966).
  In the late 19th century McNary Frump gave up school teaching and began a prosperous career as a farmer in Washington Township. Described as a "progressive and successful agriculturalist" by the State Manual of Indiana, Frump is also acknowledged as having "extensive land holdings" and was a two-term president of the Clay County Farmers Institute in the late 1890s. Prior to his election to the Indiana legislature the only elective office Frump had occupied was that of Washington Township assessor, the dates he served being unknown at this time.
   Frump won election as a Democrat to the Indiana State House of Representatives in November 1906 from his home county of Clay, defeating Republican candidate William H. Guirl by a vote of 3,629 to 3,054. An electoral result from that contest is shown below.

   Taking his seat in January 1907, McNary B. Frump served one term in the legislature and during his brief service held a seat on the committees on Trust Funds, Fees and Salaries, Legislative Apportionment, and Mines and Mining. Frump is also recorded by the 1907 Indiana General Assembly Journal as introducing House Bill No. 257, which was an "act to require drivers of motor vehicles to hold a state license and providing penalties in connection therewith". This same journal notes that the bill was given to the committee on roads and was later "indefinitely postponed."
   After leaving the legislature in 1909 Frump continued to improve his farm and shortly before his death was named as a trustee for Washington Township in 1918. He died in Washington Township on July 18, 1919, at age 66 and was laid to rest at the Swalley Cemetery in Bowling Green, Indiana. He was survived by his wife Artie and five of his children. The portrait of M. Beecher Frump (as some sources list him) was located via the Legislative and State Manual of Indiana, published in 1907.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Link Field Forehand (1877-1916)

   Possessing a name that's guaranteed to give you a chuckle, Florida legislator Link Field Forehand's life is examined today, and I'm proud to relate that the following biography on this obscure Floridian marks the first time a picture of him is available online. A lifelong resident of the Sunshine State, the mysterious Link Forehand has scant information on himself available online, but a 1915 Florida Blue Book (where the above portrait was located) came to my rescue in this regard, helping to furnish many of the facts on Forehand contained herein.
  Link Field Forehand was born in Liberty County, Florida on Independence Day 1877, one of six children born to Jeremiah M. and Mary Parish Forehand. Forehand inherited his rather odd name from his paternal grandfather, also named Link Field Forehand. A few variations in spelling have also been found for Forehand's name, among them "Link Fields", "Linkfield" and the abbreviation "L.F. Forehand."
  Link Forehand's father Jerry died when his son was just eleven years old, and the young boy received his education in the public schools of Liberty County. Following his graduation Forehand, "by persistent efforts and self sacrificing", went on to enroll at the Florida State College in the late 1890s. He is mentioned as being involved in local merchandising after leaving school and had "good success in his business." Forehand married around 1905 to a Ms. Cassey Stokes who eventually gave birth to four children, Calum (born October 1909), Selma (born 1910), Onis (born December 1913) and Cecil C. (later known as Cary Cecil, born in April 1915).
  In November 1914 Forehand was elected by the citizens of Liberty County as their representative in the Florida State House of Representatives, taking his seat at the beginning of the 1915 term. He served as chairman of the legislative committee on Forestry during this term and also held a seat on the committees on Indian Affairs, Insurance, Live Stock, and Privileges and Elections. Busy as a first-term legislator, Forehand received a write up in the 1915 Florida Blue Book, which noted that during his service he "performed the great trust nobly and well. He was a man of forceful type, one who believed firmly and honestly. He showed utter lack of fear and appeared not in the least tender, or backward in his views, whether right or wrong." The below snippets denoting Forehand's service were featured in the aforementioned book.

  Link F. Forehand's tenure in the legislature lasted but a short time, being terminated by his unexpected death a little over a year after taking his seat. He died on March 6, 1916, aged only 38 and was interred at the Bristol Cemetery in Bristol, Liberty County, Florida. His untimely death is recorded by a notice on the Rootsweb genealogical website as being the result of "pelegra" (pellagra), a vitamin deficiency disease brought about by the lack of vitamin B3 in one's diet. Following her husband's untimely death, Cassie Stokes Forehand remarried in North Carolina in April 1919 to Gustave Stigwalt, and it is unknown at this time if any children were born to this union. Originally the names of the Forehand children and Cassie Stokes couldn't be found, and a hearty thank goes out to SNIAPH site friend Greg Spadoni for locating those interesting historical tidbits. Greg received an extensive mention in two previous articles on Washington state politician and judge Govnor Teats, which can be viewed here and here. Many thanks again for your help!

 You Can Help!!

  It's time once again for one of those "You Can Help" segments, and in the case of Mr. Link Field Forehand, it is sorely needed! If any regular readers, Facebook fans, amateur historians or possible relatives have any time on their hands and want an interesting project to fill your time with, see what you can find in terms of information on this man! I'd appreciate anything you might be able to dig up on this uniquely named Florida legislator. As there is next to nothing on the world wide web about this interestingly named man, maybe someone out there knows more about him than what is already mentioned in his article here! I look forward to possibly hearing from you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Uratus Lee Meade (1863-1956)

   This curiously named mustachioed man is Uratus Lee Meade, a successful lawyer and two-term state legislator based in the town of Russellville, Arkansas. Meade's story begins with his birth in Marion County, West Virginia on April 16, 1863, one of nine children born to James Middleton Meade (1821-1896) and his wife Frances Elizabeth Ramsey (1828-1893). The Meade family removed from West Virginia when Uratus was still a child and resettled in Fannin County, Texas for a time. He is recorded as attending school in this county and later graduated from Stephenville, Texas High School in the early 1880s. 
   Soon after his graduation Meade decided upon a career in law, eventually studying his chosen profession under the tutelage of Preston Thurmond and Robert Lusk, two attorneys based in Bonham, Texas. Meade completed his studies under judge Jeremiah G. Wallace of Arkansas and settled in this state in the late 1880s. Uratus Meade married in Russellville, Arkansas in March 1887 to Jennie May Tucker, with whom he would have four children, Lee (birth-date unknown), Vera (1890-1913), John Morrison (died aged 10 months in 1897) and Andra (birth-date unknown.)
   After being admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1893 Meade formed a law partnership with Judge Wallace, which lasted until the latter's appointment as state Railroad Commissioner in 1897. Meade continued on in a solo law practice until forming another partnership with local lawyer A.H. Ferguson in the early 1900s. In 1904 Meade entered the political arena, winning election to the Arkansas State House of Representatives from his home county of Pope. He was re-elected to the legislature in 1907 and during his two terms sat on the following legislative committees: Constitutional Amendments, County and County Lines, and Mines and Mining. 

From the 1907 composite of the Arkansas House of Representatives, courtesy of the  Arkansas State Archives.

  Following his two terms in the legislature, Uratus Meade continued in the practice of law, while also having involvement with a number of local fraternal organizations, including the Royal Arch Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Meade died at the advanced age of 92 in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 23, 1956. His body was later returned to Pope County, Arkansas, and was interred at the Oakland Cemetery in Russellville. The portrait of Meade shown above was featured in volume seven of the Province and the States series of books published in the early 1900s. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Copenitus Bannister Maynard (1904-1991)

From the Bastrop Advertiser, July 23, 1942.

   As the old saying goes, "everything is bigger in Texas." In the nearly 170 year history of the state of Texas many colorfully named characters have served in some political capacity within its borders. From former Texas Republic President Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar to state senate members Demosthenes F. Goss and Astyanax Douglass, Texas has had a penchant for yielding many odd-named political figures in its century-plus history. Following on the heels of Dethloff Willrodt (a member of the Texas Legislature from 1899-1901) and McCamey Alexander Harris (a representative from 1876-79) we continue our stay in Texas to highlight the life of a man whose impressive name holds true to the above-mentioned quotation.....Mr. Copenitus Bannister Maynard of Bastrop County!
   A descendant of a family long prominent in Bastrop County civic affairs, Copenitus Bannister "C.B." Maynard was born in that county on December 5, 1904, the son of William Edward (1858-1926) and Mollie Clements Maynard (1857-1914). It can safely be said that public service ran deep in the Maynard family, as William Edward served five terms as District Attorney of Bastrop and Copenitus Bannister (1827-1889, namesake of our subject) served as county district clerk for a number of years. While Copenitus received his unusual name in honor of his paternal uncle, he is listed by many sources of the time by the initials "C.B." Because of this abbreviation, one can wonder if Maynard ever had a difficult time explaining the origins of his outstanding appellation!
   Maynard received his education in schools local to the Bastrop area and later attended the San Marcos Academy in San Marcos, Texas. He went on to enroll at the University of Texas and graduated from that institution's Law School in the late 1920s. While still attending law school Maynard began to test the political waters, announcing his candidacy for the Texas State House of Representatives in April 1928. The Bastrop County Advertiser ran an article (shown below) on the young man's candidacy, stating that Maynard was "admirably fitted to the office to which he aspires, being a gentleman of  honor, integrity and gifted with a high order of mental power."

                                               From the Bastrop Advertiser, April 19, 1928.

   Maynard was successful in his candidacy for the Texas State House of Representatives and took his seat in January 1929. At the age of twenty-four he was one of the youngest men ever elected to the legislature in its history, and during his one term of service held a seat on the following committees: Banks and Banking, Contingent Expenses, Counties, Enrolled Bills, and Insurance and Labor. 

Maynard as he looked during his time in the legislature, circa 1929.

   At the conclusion of his term in 1931, Maynard returned home to Bastrop and in that same year won election as County District Attorney, a post he would continue in for four years. In 1931 he married in Bastrop to Mary Lucy Rivers (1907-1993), with whom he would have two daughters, Lucy Rivers Maynard (1933-1942) and Mary Clements Maynard (born 1936). Five years after leaving the post of District Attorney, C.B. Maynard was elected as Bastrop County judge. His tenure in this post extended three years and during his term tragedy struck the Maynard family.
   On October 8, 1942, nine-year-old Lucy Rivers Maynard was returning home from the Bastrop School when she was offered a ride home by a soldier stationed at Camp Swift, a Pvt. George C. Knapp. Knapp, a 38-year-old resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, had been employed as a gunsmith in that state and had also spent time in a mental institution there some years previously. The Bastrop Advertiser notes that Lucy Maynard accepted Knapp's offer for a ride, but at a great price. Knapp abducted Lucy and after she became frightened he began attacking her. After driving around the Bastrop vicinity Knapp deposited Lucy's unconscious body in a pasture on the outskirts of town. After committing this atrocity Knapp stopped at a filling station for gas and subsequently drove off without paying. He shortly thereafter returned to Camp Swift in his vehicle, which had been stolen earlier that day from a Captain stationed on the base. Knapp was soon placed under arrest and spent the night in custody. 
  In the meantime, military police at Camp Swift had been alerted to Lucy's disappearance and a search began, with local citizens and patrolmen lending a hand. The following day Lucy was discovered (barely alive and badly injured) in a ravine a few hundred yards away from the highway. The Bastrop Advertiser notes that she was immediately taken to "the Orgain Memorial Hospital, suffering with severe cuts and bruises and exposure" and that she "succumbed to pneumonia, brought on by exposure" on October 8, 1942. Shortly thereafter funeral arrangements were held for the slain girl, and she was interred at the Fairview Cemetery in Bastrop.
  Authorities questioned Knapp in regards to his involvement with Lucy, and he admitted to giving her a ride. He then related that after Lucy became frightened and began screaming, he began attacking her physically. Shortly afterward he left Lucy in a pasture and began the trek back to Camp Swift. The below newspaper article on the crime appeared in the Orange Leader on October 9, 1942. 

  Knapp was later court-martialed and ordered to stand trial for the slaying. He was found guilty and six months after committing the murder was hanged on March 19, 1943, at the Leon Springs Military Reservation near San Antonio.
   Despite losing his daughter to such a terrible crime, C.B. Maynard pressed on and continued to serve the Lone Star state during WWII, resigning his judgeship in January 1943 to take on a position in the Judge Advocate General's Department of the U.S. Army. He was promoted to captain towards the end of 1943 and was deployed overseas the following year. 1945 saw Maynard serving in France, where he was promoted to Major. A Texas legislative resolution honoring Maynard in 1990 notes that he was part of "Gen. Omar Bradley's 12th Army" and was awarded a Bronze Star in September 1945 for his "meritorious service". At the conclusion of the war, Maynard participated in the early stages of planning the Nuremberg Trials, and left the Army in 1946, having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 
  After returning to Texas Maynard practiced law and is also listed as being a government appeals agent for the county of Bastrop. He went on to serve as the President of the Bastrop County Bar Association for a decade and later was a Director of the State Bar of Texas from 1964-1967. Two years after the conclusion of his term Maynard was appointed by then Texas Governor Preston Smith as a judge for Texas' 21st Judicial District, succeeding Judge John Simmang, who had died before the expiration of his term.

C.B. Maynard, from the 1967 Texas Bar Journal.

    C.B. Maynard served on the bench for six years, retiring at age 70 in August of 1975. His numerous contributions to Bastrop County and Texas were acknowledged in a 1990 legislative resolution, which noted "his outstanding career in public office" and his "dedicated efforts in public and private life to preserving and enhancing the greatness of this state." Copenitus Bannister Maynard died shortly before his 87th birthday on November 2, 1991, and was interred at the Fairview Cemetery in Bastrop, the same cemetery in which his daughter was laid to rest nearly sixty years before. Maynard was survived by his daughter Mary Clements Maynard and his wife Mary, who passed away in April 1993 at age 85.

Monday, May 6, 2013

McCamey Alexander Harris (1829-1900)

Portrait courtesy of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas website.

  Following on the heels of Monday's profile on Texas state representative Dethloff Willrodt, we continue our stay in the Lonestar State to profile another curiously named Texas legislator, Mr. McCamey Alexander Harris of Titus County. Little information exists online in regards to Harris's life, but a small biographical notice on him (featured in the Sketches of Legislators and State Officials, Fifteenth Legislature, 1876-1878) proved to be very useful when compiling information for his biography.
  Born in Talbot County, Georgia on December 1, 1829, McCamey A. Harris was one of several children born to James Harris (1795-1868) and his wife Lucretia Jones Harris (1795-1878). Nothing could be found on Harris's childhood or education, so it is presumed that he received his schooling in either Georgia or Alabama, where his family resided for a time.
  McCamey "Mack" Harris is recorded as settling in Texas in 1851, establishing a home in Marion County. He later removed to the town of Ripley in Titus County, marrying in 1857 to Ms. Mary "Molly" Webb (1842-1919). The couple later had two sons named Edgar and Clyde, whose birth-dates are unknown at this time.
  Harris signed on for service in the Confederate Army at the dawn of the Civil War and gained distinction amongst the ranks of Co. B. of the 15th Texas Calvary under  Gen. Patrick "Stonewall of the West" Cleburne (1828-1864). Harris later saw action with Granbury's Texas Brigade, under command of Gen. Hiram Jonson Granbury. Both of Harris's commanders were killed during the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee in 1864 but he himself served until the close of the hostilities without injury. 
   After returning home to Ripley, Harris began farming and served as Postmaster of this town beginning in 1874. Mentioned as being a lifelong Democrat by the Sketches of Legislators and State Officials, McCamey Harris was elected to the Texas State House of Representatives in 1875 from Titus County and took his seat in April 1876. Harris had never served in elected office prior to his term in the legislature, and his tenure in this body saw him sit on the house committees on Counties and County Boundaries, Private Land Claims, Roads Bridges and Ferries, and Town and City Corporations.
  Little is known of Harris' life after leaving the Texas Legislature in 1879. He returned to his farm in Ripley, where he died at age 70 on August 20, 1900. He was interred at the Green Hill Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, Texas in Titus County. Mary Webb Harris survived her husband by nearly twenty years, dying in 1919 at age 77 and was buried next to her husband. The portrait of Harris shown above was located via the ever-useful Texas Legislative Library website, which has furnished numerous odd named Texas legislators and state officials to post here!