Possessing a truly unique first name, Cadalzo Dockstader was a locally prominent citizen in both St. Joseph County, Michigan and later, Syracuse, New York. Born in Nevada County, California on July 2, 1861, Cadalzo was one of three children born to Giles Fonda and Mary Louise Keller Dockstader. Giles and his wife had migrated from Michigan to California sometime previously, and at some point following their son's birth removed back to the Michigan area, settling in the county of St. Joseph.
Cadalzo Dockstader enrolled at the Michigan State Agricultural College at East Lansing, graduating from this school in August 1882. A short while later he became engaged as a druggist in the city of Three Rivers, becoming a partner of Henry Hall in the pharmacy office of Hall and Dockstader. Their business is recorded as being "one of the oldest drug stores in Three Rivers" as well as being dealers in peppermint oil. Dockstader himself is referred to as a "dealer in domestic essential oils, farmer and druggist" in a publication by his Alma mater. In the late 1880s, Dockstader married Eva Belle Jackson (1865-1917) with whom he would have one daughter, Mary Jane (1889-1922).
While prominent as a druggist in his community, Dockstader gained further notoriety in 1896 when he was elected Mayor of the city of Three Rivers, which had been incorporated as a municipality a short while before. Dockstader was the second man to served as mayor of the city (succeeding Marvin H. Bumphrey) and held office from April 1897 to April 1899. Two years after his term as Mayor had concluded, Dockstader won election as a Probate Judge for St. Joseph County, serving on the bench until 1905.
A few years after the conclusion of his term as judge, the Dockstader family removed from Three Rivers to Syracuse, New York, where they would reside for the rest of their lives. Within a few years of his relocation to the Empire State Dockstader had established business roots in Onondaga County, becoming an "apple orchidist" and was Secretary of the Onondaga Orchid Co. in the town of Fabius. He served in the capacity of Secretary-Treasurer of the North Syracuse Light and Power Company during the early 1920s and in addition to the proceeding held the Presidency of the Cicero State Bank at Cicero, New York for an indeterminate length of time. Eva Dockstader died of an undisclosed illness in Syracuse in November 1917 at age 52, and Cadalzo never remarried following her death. Five years following his wife's passing Dockstader was dealt another tragedy when his only daughter Mary Jane died at age 33.
In 1929 Dockstader reentered the political forum, launching a campaign for Mayor of North Syracuse, New York. Dockstader ran as a "non-partisan candidate" and faced off against Republican Ernest Conway during the contest. On election day Dockstader emerged victorious, besting Conway by a close vote of 312 to 302! Two newspaper snippets concerning the election (both of which appeared in the Syracuse Journal in March 1929) are located below. Dockstader's one term as Mayor ended in 1931, and it is worth noting that he is the first oddly named politician profiled here on the site who served as a Mayor in two different states!
Little else is known of Dockstader's life after he left office, and one can presume that he carried on with his earlier agricultural and banking interests in Onondaga County. Cadalzo Dockstader died at the Duryee Nursing Home in Syracuse on December 15, 1944, at age 83 and was shortly thereafter cremated. His remains were later interred at the North Syracuse Cemetery. The rare portrait of him shown above was found in the 1895 work Headlight Flashes Along the Michigan Central Line, which highlighted important civic and business leaders in the Three Rivers area.
From the December 16, 1944 edition of the Syracuse Journal.