Sunday, March 30, 2014

Don Pedro de Alvarado Wysong (1851-1941)

                   Wysong and his grandson Stewart,  from the History of Meade County, Kansas, 1916.

    A prominent local office holder in southern Kansas, Don Pedro de Alvarado Wysong's political notoriety rests on his service as County Attorney for Meade County, Kansas for one term. Listed in the 1916 History of Meade County, Kansas as "D.P. Wysong", a later Google search revealed his full name to be "Don Pedro de Alvarado Wysong", according to the Rootsweb genealogical website. A native of Virginia, Wysong was born in that state on June 16, 1851, one of ten children born to Lewis and Eleanor Burke Wright Wysong. He is presumed to have been given his unusual name in honor of Don Pedro de Alvarado (1584-1641), the famed 16th-century conquistador, military leader, and Guatemalan governor, nowadays remembered for being "violent, cruel, and ruthless" during his conquest of both the Mayan and Aztec empires. 
  Wysong's exact birth location is given as occurring in either Bedford County or Franklin County, Virginia, and he married in the town of Stewartsville in April 1876 to Medora "Dora" Stewart, with whom he had three children, James Thomas (1877-1920), Mary Lucy (died aged two in 1882) and Ansel Stewart (1884-1962). Little is known of Wysong's early life in Virginia, although it has been found that he attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia from 1880-1881.
  Don Pedro Wysong removed from Virginia to Meade County Kansas in 1885 and during his residency here took part in "teaching, contracting, farming" and later established a law practice. In the late 1890s, he entered county politics, serving as Meade County Superintendent in 1892-1893, and was clerk of Meade County from 1902-1906. In 1908 he was elected as county attorney for Meade County and served one term in office, being defeated for reelection in 1910 by Frank S. Sullivan, the Democratic candidate.
  At some point after 1910 Wysong and his family removed from Kansas to California, settling in Alameda County, where his occupation was that of a "poultryman". He was later a resident of Hayward, California, and died a few months short of his ninetieth birthday on January 19, 1941. Wysong was later interred at the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, San Mateo County, California.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Imla Keep Brown (1815-1892)

                           Portrait from the "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts", 1879.

    For the past few weeks, several oddly named political figures from the New England region of the United States have received profiles on their respective lives and careers, and that theme continues with the following account on the life of Imla Keep Brown, a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture. Before getting too in-depth on Brown's public life and accomplishments I would like to mention that I've always been slightly hesitant when it comes to adding state officials who've occupied offices on the "State Railroad Commission", "State Board of Equalization", "State Board of Health" or "State Board of Agriculture".  All of these positions sound as though they could be non-political but are offices within the perimeter of the state government, and the men and women who occupied these posts were either appointed or elected to them, and in the case of Mr. Brown, his four-year stint as a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture places him squarely in the gray area of a "sort-of-political figure".
   Imla Keep Brown was born in Guilford, Vermont on May 4, 1815, one of seven children born to Isaac and Derinda Keep Brown. Bestowed the unusual name Imla Keep upon his birth, Brown looks to have gained his odd first and middle names in honor of a Massachusetts-born Texas pioneer and physician named Imla Keep, mentioned by the Handbook of Texas webpage as being one of Stephen Austin's "Old Three Hundred" colonists. This Imla Keep (1785-1854) was born in Groton, Massachusetts and practiced medicine and farmed in both Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. He married three times during his life and died in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1854.
   Imla K. Brown's early life in Guilford saw him work the family farm, later attending schools in the towns of Brattleboro and Townsend. Brown taught school in Bernardston, Massachusetts during the late 1830s and married in March 1838 to Eunice Emmeline Connable (1814-1872). Their marriage of thirty-four years saw the birth of three children, Laura Keep (born 1841), Emma Wright (1846-1894), and Abbott Channing (born 1849). Following Eunice Brown's death in 1872 Imla remarried in Bernardston, Massachusetts to Hattie Cook Larrabee (born 1838) in November 1874. 
   Around 1837 Brown relocated from Vermont to Bernardston and after purchasing a farm belonging to his father-in-law "became one of the town's most successful farmers." Brown served Bernardston as a town selectman from 1857-1859 and 1861, and during his time in this office, his fellow selectman was none other than Polycarpus L. Cushman (1822-1901), a nephew of Polycarpus Loring Cushman (1778-1855), a prominent Bernardston resident, farmer, and member of the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives. Brown's connection to the Cushman family furthered in 1861 when his daughter Laura married Henry Clay Cushman, a son of Ralph Cushman (1783-1863), a younger brother of the previously mentioned Polycarpus Loring Cushman. Imla Brown would continue his relationship with the Cushman family as a trustee and President of the Cushman Library in Bernardston. 
   In 1868 Imla Brown reached his highest degree of public prominence when he was elected by the Franklin County Agricultural Society to represent that county on the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture. His tenure on the board saw him serve alongside eminent Swiss-American zoologist and geologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), who also taught at Harvard and was the founder of the Museum of Cooperative Zoology. Brown's term (1868-1871) saw him serve on the board committee on Abortion in Cows, while also taking part in pertinent agricultural topics of the day. During the 1869-1870 term, Brown took part in the Hampden County Agricultural Society's annual agricultural fair and cattle show, being a special guest "reporter" at the behest of fellow board member William Birnie. Brown later reported on the event at the next board session, noting that:
"In the various combinations of wood and iron employed in agriculture a great improvement has been made, yet a farmer must use his brains as well as his muscles. In mechanics, in science, commerce or law, it is understood that the man who is most truly alive to his calling is the one that wins. The same really is true in regard to farmers. They must wake up and join the advancing march, or be left behind."
 After leaving the state agricultural board in 1871 Brown continued farming in Bernardston and in 1874 was elected as the President of the Franklin County Agricultural Society, serving one term. In addition to farming, Imla Brown is remarked as being a "constant attendant and a liberal supporter of the Unitarian Church". He died in Bernardston on January 10, 1892, at age 76 and was survived by his second wife Hattie. A burial location for both Imla and Hattie remains unknown at the time of this writing.

  From the 1870 Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture Report.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dominicus Strout Hasty (1846-1922), Dominicus Ricker (1823-1914), Dominicus Carter (1806-1884)

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of the Officers and Members of the Nebraska Legislature.

    A first name like "Dominicus" is bound to raise a few eyebrows due to its peculiarity, and in the case of state legislators Dominicus Strout Hasty and Dominicus Ricker, having Dominicus as a first name has warranted each of them a profile on the "Strangest Names in American Political History." The first of these men is Dominicus "Min" Hasty, a native of Maine who found distinction in public life in Nebraska, being elected to a term in the state senate during the early 1900s. 
  Born in Limerick, York County, Maine on December 13, 1846, Dominicus Strout Hasty was one of five children born to Oliver Staples and Mercy Strout Hasty. He attended schools in Maine and "notwithstanding his inclination to play pranks upon fellow pupils and worry his teachers", completed his education and took work as a lumberman and surveyor. Hasty continued in this line of work until he left York County in 1871, subsequently resettling in Furnas County, Nebraska. Establishing a farm in the then-burgeoning town of Arapahoe, Hasty recommenced with surveying and later took on additional work in "hydraulic engineering, bridge contracting, building of irrigation ditches, reservoirs, and mills." 
  Dominicus Hasty married in 1875 to Emma Atkinson, with whom he would have six children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Bertram Ernest (born 1876), Lizzie Jane (1878-1912), Jesse Walter (born 1880), Stella (died in infancy in 1882), Charles Albee (1883-1949) and Azella (born 1886). Emma Hasty died sometime in the late 19th century and a few years following her death Dominicus remarried to Sarah Sidonia "Dora" Otter, a native of Dorset, England. This marriage resulted in two further children, Dorothy Otter (1898-1999, died aged 101) and Kathleen Jennie Hasty (1903-1989).
  Throughout a good majority of his life, Dominicus Hasty devoted his efforts to operating his farm in Arapahoe and beginning in the late 1870s made his first move into Furnas County political affairs, being elected as county Surveyor around 1878. Aside from his service as county surveyor Hasty refrained from running for public office, but in 1902 received the nomination for a seat in the Nebraska State Senate. The McCook Tribune of August 28, 1908, gave a brief backstory on Hasty's nomination, noting that:
"Mr. Hasty's name was put in the field six years ago by the railroad machine and nominated and elected. We do not seriously blame him for that for the railroad machine had control then and that was the only way that a senator could be made at that time in this district."
  Taking his seat at the start of the 1903-05 legislative term, Hasty was named to the senate committees on  Counties and County Boundaries, Finance Ways and Means, Public Lands and Buildings, Public Printing, Immigration and Irrigation, and served as chairman of the Committee on Live Stock and Grazing. During the 1904 reelection year, Hasty wasn't renominated by his fellow Furnas County Republicans due to disagreements arising from Hasty speaking out on railroad taxation. The McCook Tribune records that the "machine did not venture to put up Mr. Hasty again and he was exchanged for another", and despite his not being renominated made a further attempt at the Senate in the Republican primary of September 1908, but was unsuccessful.
   In 1910 Dominicus Hasty reentered public life when he was appointed as postmaster of Furnas County, serving in this office until 1915. The last years of his life saw him fight diabetes, a disease that eventually necessitated the amputation of a foot. Despite this loss, Hasty continued to be active in surveying work, being county surveyor and highway commissioner until shortly before his death. Hasty succumbed to diabetes in Arapahoe on April 24, 1922, at age 75, and was survived by his wife Dora, and six children. One of his daughters, Dorothy, lived to become a centenarian, dying aged 101 in 1999.

From the Arapahoe Public Mirror, April 27, 1922.

   Sporting a pair of substantial sideburns, Dominicus Ricker was viewed as one of Parsonsfield, Maine's favorite sons, and during a long life of nine decades represented York County in the Maine Legislature on three occasions, while also earning local distinction as a school teacher, farmer, and alderman. Inheriting his odd first name courtesy of his father (a prominent deacon in the local church), Dominicus Ricker was born in Parsonsfield on May 14, 1823. He married in August 1848 to Caroline Thompson (1826-1898), and later became the father to two children, Frank Howard (born 1850) and Abbie C. (1856-1937). 
   A school teacher for many years in the Parsonsfield area, Ricker moved to Biddeford, Maine in 1864, residing here for a decade. During his residence here he was elected to the first of three terms in the Maine State House of Representatives in 1873 and resettled in Parsonsfield in the year following his election. He continued teaching and farming in Parsonsfield both before and after his resettlement and occupied several local public offices, being a member of the Parsonsfield Superintending School Committee from 1856-58, 1877-80, and again from 1885-87. He was a former town treasurer and selectman from 1860-1863 and in the 1884 election year was returned to the state legislature, serving in the sessions of 1885 and 1886.
  Dominicus Ricker died in Parsonsfield on February 14, 1914, at age 90 and was interred at the Maplewood Cemetery in South Parsonsfield. His wife Caroline had predeceased him in 1898 and was also interred at the Maplewood Cemetery.

Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

   Another Maine native blessed with this unusual name is Dominicus Carter, for over three decades a prominent Mormon in Provo, Utah. A First Councilor to Utah Stake President George Smith and a member of the Provo City Council, Carter earns a place here on the site due to his service as Probate Judge of Utah County, Utah in the late 1850s.
   Born on June 21, 1806, in Scarborough, Maine, Dominicus Carter was the son of John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter. As a youth, Dominicus worked the family farm and learned the trade of blacksmith, but had no formal education whatsoever. He married his first wife Lydia Smith in 1828 and by the mid-1830s both had joined the Mormon church. In 1834 the Carters were residing with other Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio, and had direct contact with church founder Joseph Smith
   By 1838 anti-Mormon sentiment in Kirtland led over 900 Mormon families (including the Carters) to make a mass exodus to Missouri, and during the long trek Dominicus suffered the passing of a two-year-old daughter, Sarah. Within a few weeks of arriving in Missouri, he suffered another tragedy when his wife Hannah died, leaving Dominicus as the sole provider for four children. In 1839 he married his second wife Sylvia and five years later took as his wife Mary Durfee, proving that Carter had no qualms about polygamous marriage. In total Carter had had eight wives by the time of his death in 1884, and are listed as follows in order of marriage:
  • Lydia Smith (1809-1838)
  • Sylvia Ameret Meacham (married March 1839)
  • Mary Durfee (married 1844)
  • Sophronia Babcock (married 1846, died in childbirth in 1847)
  • Polly Miner (1832-1896, married 1851)
  • Elizabeth Brown (1833-1914, married 1852)
  • Caroline Mariah Hubbard (1831-1907, married 1854 and divorced 1861)
  • Frances Nash (1836-1908, married 1857)
   While the above number of wives is impressive, Carter proved to be one of the most fecund political figures ever, siring nearly fifty children between 1829 and 1875!! A listing of Carter's children can be found in its entirety on Carter's Find-a-Grave page
   By the early 1840s Carter and his family were residing in Nauvoo, Illinois, and during the middle part of that decade was called to missions in Vermont, Iowa, and Tennessee. His residency in Nauvoo shows his interest in music, as he was a member of the Nauvoo Legion Band. In 1846 Carter and several other Mormon families began the long trek to Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to reaching his destination Carter resided in Council Bluffs, Iowa for a few years, and put his blacksmithing skills to use by fitting the wagon trains readying for departure to Salt Lake City.
   Dominicus Carter and his family reached Salt Lake City in June 1851 and within a year of his arrival had removed to Provo. In August 1852 he was named as a councilor under Utah stake President George A. Smith and in that same year was elected as a selectman for Utah County, Utah.  Around 1856 Carter was serving as Probate Judge of Utah County and served in that post until at least 1859, being succeeded by Silas Smith.
  Carter continued to have an interest in music during his residency in Provo, being mentioned as having "led the singing in Provo" and for a time served as "chief of music for the district". He remained active in Provo civic life into his twilight years and after polygamy became anathema in the 1880s served time in the Utah state penitentiary for having multiple wives. Dominicus Carter died in Provo on February 2, 1884, at age 77, and was survived by four of his wives and a number of children. He was later interred at the Provo City Cemetery.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Acors Wells Lawton (1797-1881)

From the  J.W. Lewis & Co. "History of Litchfield County, Connecticut", 1881.

   We continue our stay in New England for the following write-up on Acors Wells Lawton, a resident of Goshen, Connecticut who was long active in religious and public affairs in that town. A deacon in the local Baptist church for over fifty years, Lawton had fleeting involvement in state politics when he was elected as Goshen's representative to the Connecticut State Legislature in 1853. While very little exists online in regards to Lawton's life, his biography in the History of Litchfield County, Connecticut (published in the year of his death) proves that in his day A.W. Lawton was viewed as one of Goshen's "pillars", and that he "served his town in credit and confidence in all places of trust." This same book also yielded the rare portrait of him shown above.
   This native son of Rhode Island was one of several children born to Joseph and Anna Rathbun Lawton, his birth occurring in Hopkinton on May 1, 1797. Little is known of Lawton's early life or education, although the History of Litchfield County records him as removing to Connecticut prior to 1821. In that year he married Mary C. Cheesbrough, daughter of an old established family in the town of Stonington. Mary died in childbirth in June 1823, after giving birth to twin sons, Zebulon Cheesbrough (1823-1902) and Joseph F. Two years following her death Lawton remarried to Elizabeth Clark (died 1862), with whom he had a further five children, Benjamin Lawton (born 1826), Wells A. (born 1830), Franklin (birth-date unknown), Giles M. (birth date unknown) and Nelson Henry (1842-1911).
   Following his removal to Goshen, Connecticut in 1827 Lawton purchased the farm on which his family would reside for decades afterward. Around this same time, he began service as a deacon at the Cornwall Hollow Baptist Church and is mentioned as one who "led in the organization of the church" and also held the office of treasurer of the Widow's Fund for the Litchfield County Baptist Association. Active in local politics in addition to church work, Lawton served as a justice of the peace for Goshen during the 1840s and in 1853 began a term in the Connecticut State House of Representatives as one of two legislators from Goshen. His one term saw him serve on the committee on the state reform school, and after his service returned to farming in Goshen.
   Acors Wells Lawton died at age 83 on February 16, 1881, in Goshen and was later interred at the Cornwall Hollow Cemetery in Litchfield County. He was memorialized by the History of Litchfield County as a popular Goshen citizen, noting that he had:
"Finished the work which God gave him to do." He had a longer time in which to do it than most men--eighty-three years and nine months,--and he did it with a more spontaneous, free and loving spirit that is common to man; so his friends loved Deacon Lawton, for the life of Christ was beautiful in him."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Orsemor Sumner Holden (1843-1914)

From the Centennial Celebration, Together with a Historical Sketch of Reading, 1874.

   A lifetime resident of Vermont, Orsemor Sumner Holden was for over five decades one of Windsor County's foremost citizens, being active in both local business and politics. A two-term member of the Vermont State House of Representatives from the town of Reading, Holden also gained additional repute for being a popular "singer of sentimental songs" as well as a multi-instrumentalist, two pastimes as far removed from politics as one can imagine!
   One of two sons born to Felchville, Vermont hotel operator Joel Holden (1804-1850) and his wife Priscilla (1806-1883), Orsemor S. Holden was born in Reading on July 20, 1843, and received his education in schools local to his place of birth. Holden is described by the "Men of Vermont" as inheriting a gift for music, and was a multi-instrumentalist, becoming a proficient player of the organ, banjo, and guitar. Possessing a "cultivated baritone voice", Holden is also mentioned as being a singer of then-popular sentimental songs, eventually joining up with a traveling minstrel troupe, Whitmore and Clark's Minstrels, in 1864. His time with this group extended for a period of five years, and during the Civil War enlisted for service on three occasions, but "could not pass the physical examination."
   For over fifty years Orsemore Holden made his living as a house, sign, and carriage painter, while also taking part in singing engagements and musical performances. He married in July 1873 to Andover, Vermont native Julia Ella Nutting, who later served Reading as its Superintendent of Schools during the 1880s. The couple were married for over forty years and remained childless through the course of their marriage.
    Beginning in middle age Holden began to take an active role in Reading political affairs, serving as a town selectman from 1883-1892. He became a justice of the peace in 1885 and town road commissioner, and in November 1885 was elected to his first term in the Vermont House of Representatives, taking his seat in January 1886. This term saw him sit on the house committee on claims, and he was returned to the house for a second term during the 1890 election year. 
  Following his service in the legislature, Orsemor Holden continued to serve Reading in various local offices, including that of "road commissioner, town agent, and auditor" in the mid-1890s, and maintained a membership in the Mt. Sinai Lodge #22 of the International Order of Odd Fellows. In 1901 Holden proved that even at nearly 60 years of age he could still carry a tune, and during Old Home Day in Reading on August 14th sang a "greeting song" to a large crowd assembled in town. 
  Orsemor Sumner Holden died at age 71 of pernicious anemia on June 28, 1914, and was survived by his wife Ella, who is listed in an death record as dying sometime in 1947. A burial location for both Holden and his wife remains unknown at this time.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Yorick Gordon Hurd (1827-1888)

From Duane Hurd's History of Essex County, Massachusetts, Vol. 1, 1888.

   "Alas, Poor Yorick! I knew him Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath born me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorred in my imagination it is!" 
   Those famed lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet in which the titular character expounds on the memory of the long-dead court jester have been misquoted for centuries as "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well." While even the most casual readers of Shakespeare know of this often misquoted phrase, you'd probably never guess that there was a man named Yorick (born two hundred years after the publishing of Shakespeare's play) who would go on to distinction as a physician, military surgeon and two-term Massachusetts state senator. That man is one Yorick Gordon Hurd of the town of Ipswich, and in addition to the aforementioned posts also gained distinction as a penologist, serving as the director of the Essex County House of Correction and Insane Asylum at Ipswich.
   One of seven children born to Col. Smith and Mehitable Emerson Hurd, Yorick Gordon Hurd was a native of New Hampshire, being born in the town of Lempster on February 17, 1827. His education occurred in "district schools" near Lempster, and during the winter months, he taught school as a means of income. Hurd would also engage in farm work during his youth, eventually enrolling at the Hancock Literary and Scientific Institute. He decided upon a career in medicine during this time and later began his study under Dr. Albert Smith, a Dartmouth medical professor and prominent physician in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Hurd would continue his studies at both the Vermont Medical College and Dartmouth College, graduating from the latter school in the class of 1854. Hurd had married a year earlier in May 1853 to Mary Twitchell, who died five years after their marriage in October 1858. He would remarry in 1861 to Ruth Brown, who predeceased him by two months. Both of these marriages were childless, but notice is given as to Yorick and Ruth's adoption of a daughter, (name given as Josephine) who later married Mr. H.K. Dodge of Ipswich.
  After receiving his medical degree Yorick G. Hurd relocated from New Hampshire to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where he established a medical practice. He continued to tend to patients in Amesbury until the second year of the Civil War, and in 1862 joined in the war effort, being dispatched to Wenham, Massachusetts, where he served as a surgeon at Camp Lander for a period of two months. In December 1862 Hurd was transferred to the 48th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers and as surgeon went with this regiment to New Orleans, during his time here was later detached from his regiment and "placed in charge of division hospitals", on the order of Gen. Christopher Auger (then commander of the First Division of the Nineteenth Army Corps.)
   Yorick Hurd returned home to Essex County, Massachusetts after his service and soon after returned to the practice of medicine. Touted upon his return as having been "the best regimental surgeon in the division" during his service, the call of public office soon beckoned to Hurd, and in 1865 won his first term in the Massachusetts State Senate, representing the town of Amesbury. During this session of the legislature, Hurd served on the senate committees on Public and Charitable Institutions and the sub-committee on the Subject of Hospitals for Invalid Soldiers. Hurd was returned to the Senate in 1866 and his second term saw him hold a seat on the committee on the Library, Sanitary Necessities, and Public and Charitable Institutions.
   While still an incumbent senator Yorick Hurd was tapped to be the Superintendent of the Essex County House of Correction and Insane Asylum, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts. As a practicing physician, Hurd used his extensive medical knowledge in developing a manner of care for the inmates under his watch, and the History of Essex County Massachusetts devoted a substantial passage to Hurd's stewardship of the asylum, noting:
"Immediately upon the assumption of the duties of the responsible position as superintendent of the house of correction he instituted such reforms in its management as secured a state of quiet and good order among those placed in his charge as had never been known in the previous history of the institution, which by his even tempered management he was able to preserve so long as the institution was under his supervision."
   Hurd's time as superintendent also saw him gain distinction as a "consulting authority" on the management and care of the mentally disturbed, and is recorded as being "called in the courts as an expert in insane cases."
  From 1866-1887 Yorick Hurd had charge of the Essex County House of Correction, and during this lengthy period also earned distinction in several other non-medical areas, including serving as a trustee for the Ipswich Savings Bank. He was also a past director of the Ipswich Gas and Light Company. Hurd retired from the superintendency of the House of Correction in 1887 and in the year following his retirement suffered the death of his wife Ruth, who died July 26, 1888.  Yorick followed her to the grave two months later, dying at age 61 on September 24. A burial location for both Yorick Hurd and his wife is unknown at this time but is presumed to be somewhere in the Ipswich, Massachusetts area.   

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Roady Kenehan (1856-1927)

From "The Pinnacled Glory of the West: Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion." 1912.

   With an unusual first name that conjures up images of a rodeo bronco buster or cowboy, Roady Kenehan rose from humble origins in Dublin, Ireland to become a blacksmith, later immigrating to the United States in the 1870s to seek his fortune. After decades of service as a blacksmith, labor leader, and publisher, Kenehan became a prominent figure on the Colorado political stage during the early 20th century, serving terms as State Auditor and State Treasurer. 
   Roady Kenehan's intriguing life story begins in Rathdowney, Ireland, where he was born on May 1, 1856, a son of Thomas and Bridget Bacon Kenehan. His early education took place near the town of his birth and whilst still a child began to learn the art of blacksmithing and horseshoeing from his father, continuing in this line of work until his removal to the United States in 1873. Settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kenehan recommenced with horseshoeing and is also recorded as "receiving military training as a member of the Fencibles of Pennsylvania", a military regiment primarily made up of men of Irish extraction. 
    Kenehan removed from Pennsylvania to North Dakota in 1879, settling here for a short time. In the following year, he relocated to Denver, Colorado where he would reside for the remainder of his life, continuing to ply his trade as a blacksmith. Within a few years of his resettlement, Kenehan began a lengthy connection with the Journeyman's International Horseshoer's Union of the United States and Canada, eventually serving as its secretary-treasurer for a number of years. He also held the position of editor and manager of the International Horseshoer's Monthly Magazine. Kenehan married in Denver in 1883 to Ms. Julia Casey (1865-1949), with whom he would have six children, who are listed as follows in order of their birth: Thomas Bernard (1884-1933), Ella E. (1886-1919), Katherine (1888-1973), Grace M. (1894-1990), Roady Jr. (1899-1935) and Martin J. (1902-1933). 
   Throughout the next two decades the hardworking Irish immigrant continued shoeing horses in Denver, at the shop of one John Murphy, and during this period was acknowledged by his fellow citizens as a prominent voice in labor circles in the city. An avowed Democrat, Kenehan had been active in the affairs of his party throughout the late 19th century, and his connections with Denver trade unions and labor groups later led him to be appointed as a member of the Colorado State Labor Board of Arbitration in 1897. Kenehan was later to serve as the President of the Denver County Board of Supervisors, this post being mentioned by the Silver Cliff Rustler as "being the most important office outside that of Mayor." 
  Kenehan was reappointed to the board of arbitration in 1899 and 1901, and in 1904 began his term on the Denver Board of Supervisors, subsequently serving until 1908. In that year he became the Democratic candidate for Colorado State Auditor, and newspapers throughout Colorado picked up on the nomination, many of which made note of Kenehan's unwavering honesty, work ethic, and character. Among these articles was a write-up in the October 23, 1908, Ouray Plain Dealer, which highlighted not only Kenehan's prior involvement in the Horseshoer's Union but also his political activities. The Plain Dealer noted that:
"Personally, Mr Kenehan is a man whose yea, yea, and nay, nay on a subject on which he is interested makes him well liked by all who know him. There is no hypocrisy, no double-dealing in his make up. He would not flatter himself on political lore, nor would he depend upon flattery for his daily sustenance. He leads in all matters and all subjects that are under discussion. What more could the voters of Colorado want? It would be hard to understand. Roady Kenehan is honest; no graft can get his O.K." 
Hard at work, Roady Kenehan pictured in the Montreal Tribune, Sept. 1, 1910.

    Kenehan's election as state auditor proved to be a story that could have been written by Horatio Alger, a story of a young boy from a lower-class background who, through hard work, fortitude, and personal honesty made good in his endeavors. The Montreal Tribune edition of September 1, 1910, relates further facts on Kenehan's ascension to the post of state auditor, noting that he had been hard at work shoeing horses an hour before his inauguration, and "took off his leather apron, washed his hands and went up to the state house." 
   Described as a "heavy set man close to sixty, with a genial merry eye" Kenehan proved to be a bulldog when it came to curbing the misuse of state funds, and within a few days of becoming auditor had taken steps to curb graft in the capital, finding that a "voucher for $165 from the state penitentiary for automobile tires" hadn't been properly used, and later found that no tires had been purchased at all. Upon further inspection, Kenehan later discovered that many state officials had undertaken "pleasant jaunts at the expense of the state" to various political conventions outside of Colorado, and, after locating an existing statute that would curtail these financial abuses, prevailed in his goal to end these "joy rides". The Montreal Tribune reported on Kenehan's watchful eye, and noted that many of these officials (including the state treasurer, game warden, and insurance commissioner) later "refunded the price to the state out of their own pocket." 
   Kenehan's term as auditor concluded early in 1911 and in November of that year was elected as Colorado State Treasurer, serving from 1911-12. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection as treasurer but was not out of the political spotlight for long, as he was later re-elected as state auditor in November 1912, defeating Republican candidate Charles Lackenby. 

                   From the Internation Horseshoer's Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, February 1902.

    During his second stint as state auditor Kenehan continued as the "watchdog" of Colorado's treasury department. In June of 1913, a report was published in the Telluride Daily Journal that Kenehan had exposed a "$40,000 illegal expenditure" by public officials in Huerfano County. These rebates discovered by Kenehan and his assistant (James Jirvan) had been given to various mining companies, as well as the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co., the Denver and Rio Grande, and the Colorado and Southern Railroads. While still the incumbent auditor, Kenehan made another attempt at winning the post of state treasurer, but was unsuccessful, being defeated by Republican candidate Harry Mulnix in November 1914. 
   Roady Kenehan's second term as auditor concluded in early 1915 and two years later was sought out by then Secretary of War Newton Diehl Baker, who appointed him as a member of Colorado's district Draft Board #2, and also served as the board's president. In 1918 further honors were accorded to Kenehan when he was tapped to be the federal director of labor/employment for the state of Colorado, being named to this post by U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Wilson. Kenehan continued to be influential in Colorado politics until shortly before his death and was recorded in the Prescott Evening Courier as having been in a state of impaired health since June 1926. 
   Roady Kenehan died in Denver on January 5, 1927, at age 70, and was widely mourned throughout the state. Two weeks following his death, the Steamboat Springs Pilot offered up a picturesque obituary of the humble Irishman who had served Colorado so well as both auditor and treasurer, writing:
"Of all the men who have passed before the public gaze of political life the last 30 years in Colorado, Roady Kenehan, who died Wednesday, was the most unique. Illiterate, honest, big-hearted, stubborn, democratic, keen and bulldoggish, he combined them all and out of the combination God gave Colorado a MAN. No one who ever knew Roady ever forgot him. He was such an outstanding character that his image stayed put in the brains of those who had met him."
Roady Kenehan, from the International Horseshoer's Monthly, 1914.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sankey Wright Robinson (1924-1986)

From the 1969 North Carolina Manual.

   A one-term member of the North Carolina State Senate, Sankey Wright Robinson was for over three decades a highly regarded figure in Columbus County, being at various times a practicing attorney, county solicitor, county recorder and college trustee for Pembroke State University. 
  Born in Columbus County on November 28, 1924, Sankey W. Robinson was the son of Jimsey Lewis and Mary Ann Britt Robinson. Bestowed the unusual first name "Sankey" upon his birth, Robinson was a 1941 graduate of the Evergreen High School and later enrolled at the Wake Forest University, graduating with his bachelor of science degree in the class of 1948. In August of 1947, Robinson married Elizabeth Hicks Wiseman (1925-2004), with whom he would have one daughter, Mary Elizabeth.
   Following his marriage Robinson would continue his education at the Wake Forest University Law School, earning his law degree in 1951. He would later establish a law practice in the town of Whiteville, North Carolina, operating here for over three decades. In 1954 Robinson began a four-year stint as a judge for the Columbus County Recorders Court, and from 1960-65 (and again from 1970-76), served as the county solicitor for Columbus County. He first resigned from this post in December 1965 and three years later was elected to a two-year term on the Columbus County Planning Board.

Sankey W. Robinson,  a class portrait from the 1945 Howler Yearbook. 

   In 1968 Sankey Robinson attained his highest degree of political prominence when he was elected to represent Columbus County in the North Carolina State Senate. Taking his seat in January 1969, Robinson served one term in the senate, being named to the senate committees on Agriculture, Appropriations, Conservation and Development, Constitution, Judiciary No. 2, Personnel and Employment Programs, and the Appropriations Sub-committee on Personnel and Long-Range Planning. 
   Robinson also experienced distinction in the field of education both before and after his senate term, being a trustee of Pembroke State University in North Carolina. He served twelve years as a chairman of that board and had earlier served as a member of the Whiteville city Board of Education. Active in both religious and fraternal affairs in Columbus County, Sankey Robinson was a past moderator of the Columbus Baptist Church Association, a trustee of the Whiteville First Baptist Church, a Shriner, a 32nd-degree Mason and was also a former president of the Whiteville Lions Club.
  After many of public service to Columbus County, Sankey Wright Robinson died at age 61 on May 24, 1986. Memorialized in a North Carolina senate resolution as "a family man and a true Christian", Robinson was interred at the Columbus Memorial Park and was survived by his daughter Beth and wife Elizabeth, who died in June 2004, later being interred at the same cemetery as her husband.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Isbell Searcy McQuitty (1876-1948)

From the "Yesteryears and Pioneers", 1972.

  The state of Montana is severely underrepresented here on the site, so underrepresented in fact that over the past two and a half years only two oddly named political figures (Decius Spear Wade and Vardaman Allen Cockerill) have received a biography here. I'm proud to announce that two has turned into three with the addition of one Isbell Searcy McQuitty, a native-born Missourian who went on to find success in both business and politics in both Meagher and Wheatland County, Montana. 
   Born in a log cabin in Columbia, Missouri on November 17, 1876, Isbell Searcy McQuitty was the eldest of two sons born to James and Annie Dysart McQuitty. His middle name is incorrectly given by some sources as "Searey", and the correct spelling of "Searcy" is listed on both his World War I draft registration card as well as in his biography in the 1972 History of Wheatland entitled "Yesteryears and Pioneers." While his first name "Isbell" is certainly peculiar, McQuitty himself looks to have preferred going by the initials "I.S. McQuitty" as far as his public life is concerned.
   "Mac" McQuitty and his brother Ewell Fielding "Dick" McQuitty both attended school in Columbia and after graduating from the local high school enrolled at the University of Missouri in the late 1890s. The brothers partnered together around 1900 to engage in railroad construction work, and this period of employment eventually took them to Montana in 1906, where they worked on a continuation of the Milwaukee Railroad. Two years after reaching Montana under the employ of the railroad, work was finished, and the McQuitty brothers began to plot their business future in the town of Harlowton. 
   In 1908 they began construction on a two-story concrete building that would eventually become known as the "McQuitty Block". In April 1909 construction was completed, and soon after the building became home to the Harlowton Grocery Company, a business that both brothers ran successfully for many years afterward. Early in his Montana residency, Isbell McQuitty married in July of 1905 to another native of Missouri, Ida Emma Kyger (1879-1954), and the couple is recorded as being childless through the duration of their marriage.
   While successful in their business pursuits, both brothers became involved in local politics, with Ewell McQuitty being elected as the Mayor of Harlowton. Isbell McQuitty took an active role in Democratic politics in Meagher County, being a delegate to the county Democratic Convention in September 1910. At this gathering, he received the nomination for representative to the Montana State House of Representatives, and in the November election proved successful, gaining "a handsome majority and running ahead of his ticket." The Harlowton News of November 11, 1910, reported on McQuitty's victory, and also ran an announcement from him, in which he remarked of the "splendid support accorded me in the recent campaign." That announcement is shown below.

   Taking his seat at the state capitol in Helena, McQuitty served on the house committees on Federal Relations and Military Affairs during his term. After leaving the legislature in 1913 he returned to his business activities in Harlowton and also was a longstanding member of both the local Odd Fellows Lodge and the Masons. During WWI he became active in the Liberty Bond drive in Harlowton and took part in similar fundraising efforts during WWII.
   Several years after his term in the state house "Mac" McQuitty became a leading figure in the establishment of Wheatland County, Montana, formed in 1917 from portions of both Meagher County and Sweet Grass County. McQuitty was the chairman of the new county's first board of commissioners in 1917 and 1918 and five years later was elected to the Montana State Senate from Wheatland. He served four terms of two years each and left the Senate in 1931. Two years later he was named as the postmaster of Harlowton, and after four years in this post resigned to take the position of State Purchasing Agent for Montana in the administration of Governor Roy E. Ayers. The Helena Daily Independent lauded McQuitty's appointment to the post in July 1937, noting that:
"Through 31 years of experience in Montana in business related to that handled by the state purchasing agent, Mr. McQuitty has gained a valuable background for this important position."
From the Helena Daily Independent, July 1, 1937 edition.

   McQuitty resigned as state purchasing agent in January 1941 and for the remainder of his life remained a prominent figure in Harlowton, even seeing his younger brother Ewell win election to the Montana state senate in 1939, where he would serve for sixteen years. Isbell Searcy McQuitty died shortly before his 72nd birthday on October 31, 1948. His brother "Dick" followed him in death in November of 1960 and both were subsequently buried at the Harlowton Cemetery in Harlowton, with "Mac" being interred under a headstone that states "A Missourian By Birth--a Montanan By Adoption--And A Democrat".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Clio Lowell Lloyd (1864-1921)

                                                                From the San Francisco Call, April 29, 1900.

    One of Santa Barbara, California's more distinguished figures during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Clio Lowell Lloyd occupied the office of Chief Clerk of the California State Assembly for nearly a decade and was later elected as the Mayor of Santa Barbara for a two-year term. Lloyd's time as mayor saw him survive two attempts to oust him from office, due to unfounded accusations of "failing to perform his official duties". 
   Born and raised in Mercer County, Illinois, Clio L. Lloyd's birth occurred in Keithsburg on April 24, 1864, a son of Marion and Jennie Patterson Lloyd. The origin's behind Lloyd's peculiar first name "Clio" can be traced back to Greek mythology, being the name of one of the nine muses, all of whom were daughters of the Greek god Zeus. Clio is remembered as the muse of history, and the name also translates from its original Greek to both "make famous" or "to celebrate". While his first name is quite unusual, the following question remains: Why exactly would two 19th century Illinois parents choose to name their son in honor of a Greek muse? 
   Clio Lloyd spent the first nine years of his life in Keithsburg, later removing with his family to Santa Barbara, California. He attended public schools in this city and "later took a course of higher study" a private school in Santa Barbara, eventually beginning an eight-year stint as a school teacher in the city. Lloyd eventually gave up teaching and moved into the field of journalism, taking on the position of manager of the Santa Barbara Daily Independent and Morning Press. While still active in newspaper work Lloyd also began dabbling in real estate, and in 1893 took on the prominent position of commissioner from Southern California to the World's Fair, being held that year in Chicago. 
   Campbell's Illustrated Weekly, Volume 3 of March 1893  devoted a large amount of coverage to the "World's Colombian Exposition" and with that coverage took special note of Clio Lloyd's stewardship of Santa Barbara County's exhibit at the fair. As commissioner, Lloyd's "pleasant and agreeable manners made him a favorite amongst the thousands of people that daily thronged through the building and desired information" , and he is also noted as being the designer of the exhibit's "Cleopatra Needle", a large obelisk made out of bottles of olive oil, the "chief product of the county."

From Campbell's Illustrated Weekly, Volume 3, 1893.

    In 1901 Clio Lloyd was elected as the Chief Clerk of the California State Assembly and served in this capacity for nine years, the longest tenure of any clerk up to that time. While still the incumbent clerk Lloyd was elected to a seat on the Santa Barbara Board of Education in 1905 and was later named as president of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara State Normal School. His time in the latter post gained him statewide repute as the "Father of the State Normal School at Santa Barbara" due to efforts in getting the bill (which advocated the creation of the school) passed by the state legislature.
   In the final year of his time as assembly clerk Clio Lloyd became a candidate for Mayor of Santa Barbara, and in December 1909 won the election, defeating Democratic candidate Dr. E.J. Boesekes by a vote of 1,121 to 853. Lloyd's tenure as mayor began with a rocky start, and two months after winning the election became the target of a recall movement calling for his removal from the mayor's office. This movement gained steam with the vocalization of disappointed office seeker Benjamin P. Ruiz, who stated in the February 19, 1910, Los Angeles Herald that Mayor Lloyd had promised him the appointment as Santa Barbara Chief of Police during the latter's mayoral campaign in 1909. However, Lloyd had reappointed the popular incumbent police chief James Ross to the post, subsequently drawing the ire of Ruiz. Eight petitions for Lloyd's recall were circulated during February and March of 1910, and the movement needed to sign 544 names to bring about a recall election.
   Lloyd vehemently denied offering the post to Ruiz, and explained that the "real weight of the movement is to get the Chief of Police Ross' head". The petition for Lloyd's recall was eventually withdrawn in early March 1910, with the San Francisco Call deeming the motive behind his potential ouster to be "entirely personal." Three months after this recall movement came to naught further charges were leveled at mayor Lloyd, this time alleging that he had "failed to perform his official duties" when he neglected to "enforce laws" against the "resorts of the red light district". In a San Francisco Call article related to the charges, Lloyd called the charges frivolous, noting:
"I am too busy looking after the interests of the city to bother with this little bunch of knockers and scandal mongers, but now that they are going into court I will be glad for the opportunity to present the facts as they are."
   The case was eventually brought to court in late June, and on July 1, 1910, a judge ruled in favor of the mayor, stating that the charges against him were "inoperative"  and "if there was such a duty neglect there-of did not call for such severe penalty as dismissal from office."

                                                   Clio L. Lloyd, from the 1907 California State Blue Book.

   Lloyd's term as Santa Barbara's mayor concluded in 1911 and is noted by the History of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties, Vol. 2 as having given Santa Barbara "a most popular and progressive administration." Despite being popular among most of his constituents (as well as his surviving two attempts to boot him out of office), Lloyd couldn't please everyone, as the following San Francisco Call article illustrates! In July 1911 Lloyd and Mike Strupelli (a Santa Barbara paving contractor) began an argument over a "sewer question", and said argument ended when Strupelli socked Lloyd in the jaw, knocking him to the ground! The irate paving contractor was later arrested for assaulting the mayor but was later released, and the Call later related that "the mayor will file no charges against him."

From the San Francisco Call, July 22, 1911.

  In the year after leaving office, Lloyd was appointed as the assessor of the city of Santa Barbara, filling out an unexpired term. He was later elected to a term of his own as city assessor, serving until 1918. Clio L. Lloyd died three years later on February 6, 1921, in Santa Barbara, aged 56. A lifelong bachelor, he was later interred at the Santa Barbara Cemetery in that city.