Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Florentine Daniel Roth (1855-1907), Florentine Henry Barker (1847-1921)

Portrait from the Watertown Herald, November 4, 1891.

   A native son of Nazareth, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, Florentine Daniel Roth was later a resident of Watertown, New York, where for many years he was at the forefront of business and political activity in the city, being both the founder of the F.D. Roth Company, a candidate for the New York State Assembly and a past mayor of Watertown.
  The son of John W. and Elizabeth Daniels Roth, Florentine D. Roth was born in Nazareth on July 17, 1855. His early years were spent in this town and as a young man took work as a clerk in a general store, and at age 21 had advanced to being the manager of a mercantile store in Nazareth. Roth married in 1880 to Emily V. Santee (1858-1910) and this marriage produced one son, Roswell John Roth (1884-1950), later a graduate of Yale University.
   In the early 1880s Roth became engaged with the dry goods business of Bush and Bull, located in Easton, Pennsylvania, and this firm would later add him as a third partner, changing its title to Bush, Bull and Roth. Roth's experience in operating a general store eventually led him to be transferred from Easton to Watertown, New York, where he would operate a branch of the aforementioned company's business. With Roth at the helm, Bush and Bull's operation in Watertown did a sterling business, with both it and Roth receiving prominent mention in the April 23, 1887 edition of the Watertown Herald, which noted that:
"Mr. Roth stands high in business circles. His judgement in the employing of help, in the selection of goods, and in placing the same on the market, is clearly shown to be of the best by the large and increasing business his house enjoys. In business or in social circles, Mr. Roth is always found a pleasant gentleman. Those who work under him speak of him as a kind, agreeable, yet firm employer, always ready to listen to any grievance and right any wrong."
   Attentive to local politics in addition to his business dealings, Roth made his first move into public service in the late 1880s, serving as an alderman for Watertown's Third ward in 1890. He later formed the dry goods firm of Roth and Santee with partner H.V. Santee and in the latter portion of that year became the Republican candidate for Mayor of Watertown, being elected in November "by a 67 majority" vote over Democrat James D. Wise. Roth entered into his mayoral duties in January 1892 and served a term of one year.

From the Watertown Reunion, October 21, 1903.

  After leaving the Mayor's office at the start of 1893 Roth returned to his business interests in Watertown and in 1897 became the National-Democratic candidate for the New York State Assembly from Jefferson County. As one of four candidates for the assembly seat, Roth's candidacy was profiled in the Watertown Reunion in October 1897, which highlighted his credentials as one of Watertown's pre-eminent business and political figures, noting: 
"His life as an official, as a citizen, and as a gentleman, stands before the people. No reflection can be cast against him and he will go to Albany devoted to the true service of the people. Mr. Roth deserves the vote of every honest taxpayer in his district."
  On election day Roth ended up polling a respectable 2,375 votes, placing second to winning Republican Walter Zimmerman, the incumbent candidate. Following his defeat, Roth continued operations with his firm, now known as the F.D. Roth Company, and eventually oversaw the construction of an eight-story building that would house both his business as well as the Rothstock Hotel, which "received the commendation of the traveling public." During this time Roth had continued involvement with civic affairs in the city, serving as the director of the Watertown Building and Loan Association, President of the Never Slip Tin Cover Co., was a past manager of the Watertown Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Watertown Board of Education and in 1903-04 served as the President of the Watertown Bureau of Charities. 
   Roth's devotion to his business and active schedule eventually began to take a toll on his health, with the Watertown Herald noting that:
"Several times it was believed he was on the edge of a nervous collapse, but he would rally and apparently would be as well as ever within a few days."
   By July 1907 Roth was reportedly "under severe strain from business cares" and towards the end of that month was found to be in "nervous collapse" by a doctor that had been summoned to his home. The end came on July 31, 1907, when Roth died at age 52 at his Watertown home, with apoplexy being recorded as the cause of death. However, just days following his sudden demise a rumor began circulating that Roth had committed suicide, which was flatly denied by Roth's friends in the Watertown community. His death certificate filed in Watertown listed his death as a result of apoplexy, but questions arose as to why Roth's remains were hurriedly removed from Watertown just a day following his death, being taken for interment at the Forks Cemetery in Stuckertown, Pennsylvania, near Roth's birthplace in Nazareth. 
   In October 1907 the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company launched an investigation into Roth's death, which made light that he had taken out a life insurance policy for $50,000 eight months prior to his death, and "was incontestable after the first year." In addition to this investigation, the Watertown Herald revealed in its October 19, 1907 edition that a good majority of the suicide rumors had been investigated by Penn Mutual, which had "traced each story to its source" and that "no excuse was left to stand for suicide." Roth was survived by his wife and son, who died in 1910 and 1950 respectively.

From the History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II, 1907.

   Cambria County, Pennsylvania resident Florentine Henry Barker is another man endowed with this unusual first name. A prominent figure in Cambria County business circles, Barker also made his name known in politics, being both Burgess of the town of Ebensburg and a delegate to the 1896 Republican National Convention in St. Louis. 
  The son of Abraham and Orsina Little Barker, Florentine H. Barker was born in Center Lovell, Maine on February 8, 1847.Early in his life his family relocated to Ebensburg, Pennsylvania and at the age of just fifteen signed on for service in the Union Army, enlisting in Co. E. of the Pennsylvania Militia's 4th Regiment. He would later serve amongst the ranks of Co. C. of the 209th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, attaining the rank of Corporal.
   At the close of the war Florentine returned home to Pennsylvania and soon after joined with his father Abraham in the latter's lumber business. On February 7, 1870 Barker married to Maggie Zahm, later having one son, Olin, who would become a doctor and eye specialist in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania area. Through the succeeding years Barker's name continued to be a prominent one in the lumber industry and in 1880 his father's lumber firm reorganized under the name of Barker Bros., being operated by both Florentine and his older brother Valentine (the latter serving as President.) Florentine would later continue business on his own, being the owner of the F.H. Barker Lumber Co., as well as serving as a director of both the North Cambria Street Railway Company and the First National Bank of Ebensburg.
  Recorded as a "staunch supporter of the Republican Party", Florentine Barker served as chairman of the Cambria County Republican committee on a number of occasions and was also elected to several terms as Burgess of Ebensburg. In 1893 he began a three-year stint as Cambria County Treasurer, and in 1896 served as part of the Pennsylvania delegation to the Republican National Convention in St. Louis, where William McKinley was nominated for the Presidency.
  Following his service as a delegate, Barker continued as a director of the Ebensburg First National Bank, serving in that capacity until his death on January 11, 1921. His wife Maggie survived her husband by five years, dying in 1926. Both were interred at the Lloyd Cemetery in Ebensburg.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Vyrtle Houston Steward (1894-1982)

From the 1935-36 Official Manual of the State of Missouri.

   The following profile highlights the life of oddly named Butler County, Missouri resident Vyrtle Houston Steward, a man who occupied the post of Missouri State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles for over a decade. While this office places Steward in the gray area of a "sort-of-political figure", the office of Commissioner of Motor Vehicles is an office within the Missouri Department of State and said office receives a substantial write up in the Official Manual of Missouri, where the above portrait of Mr. Steward was found. Steward is listed in this manual under his initials, and you can imagine the pleasant surprise I received when I found that those initials stood for "Vyrtle Houston"!
   Vyrtle Houston "V.H." Steward was born on December 11, 1894 in Puxico, Missouri, a son of George W. and Mollie L. Steward.  He is recorded as growing up on a Stoddard County, Missouri farm and married in 1917 to Mary Ethel Maddox (1896-1978),  later having two children, Dwight V. (died 1970) and Nelda Leila (1923-1984). Little is known of Steward's early life in Stoddard County, excepting his having earned the nickname "Lefty" while playing first base on a minor league baseball team in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. 
   In the mid-1910s "Lefty" Steward made the acquaintance of Dwight Huber Brown (1887-1944), later to serve as state senator and Secretary of the State of Missouri. Steward and Brown's friendship later saw the two become partners in the publishing of Poplar Bluff Citizen Democrat newspaper, where Brown served as editor. Upon Brown's entering politics in 1920s Steward served as his campaign manager, and is mentioned by the May 18, 1944 edition of the Chillicothe Constitution as having managed Brown's "four campaigns for state office", including his successful 1932 bid for Secretary of the State of Missouri. Upon being elected to that office, Brown brought Steward with him to the Missouri Capitol, appointing him as State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, a position in the office of the Secretary of State. 
  Steward's appointment to the commissioner's office took effect in January 1933 and as head of one of the state department's largest offices announced a change to the Missouri state license plate in June 1934, altering the plate's color scheme to a green background with white letters. Steward and Brown worked closely during their time in state government, with the Official Missouri Manual noting that:
"Intensive drives are also conducted by the Department to restrain Missouri motorists residing near state boundaries from using the license plates from other states, where they oftimes may be obtained at a lesser price. Secretary of State Dwight H. Brown and Commissioner V.H. Steward have been most successful in this undertaking during their incumbency."
  Vyrtle H. Steward resigned as Commissioner in May 1944, having served eleven years in office. In April 1944 he announced that he would be seeking the Democratic nomination for Secretary of the State of Missouri in that year's primary. Steward was unsuccessful in his candidacy, however, being defeated in the August primary by Wilson Bell, 1, 939 votes to 577. 

From the Southeast Missourian, April 4, 1944.

  Following his defeat Steward continued to be active in Democratic circles in Poplar Bluff, being a member of the Butler County Democratic Committee from 1953-1960. He was preceded in death by his son Dwight in 1970 and his wife in 1978. Steward himself died on July 8, 1982 at age 87 and was interred alongside his wife at the Poplar Bluff City Cemetery in Butler County, Missouri.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bencer Noel Kjos (1904-1967)

Portrait from the Mouse River Journal, November 1, 1962.

   A member of both houses of the North Dakota State Legislature, Bencer Noel Kjos has little information available on his life online, but copious amounts of digging for information (as well as the discovery of the above portrait) have fielded enough to compile a small profile for him.
   The eldest of nine children born to Nels Edward (1873-1949) and Sophia Skarie Kjos (1873-1949), Bencer N. Kjos' birth occurred in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota on June 26, 1904. He and his family would later remove to the Balfour, North Dakota area and in 1923 he graduated from that city's high school. He began teaching in "rural schools" shortly afterward, and in the late 1920s began study at the Interstate Business College in Fargo. After leaving this college Kjos found employment as a car salesman with the Bechtle Motor Company, located in Drake, North Dakota, and remained in this employ from 1927-1935. He continued to be associated with the auto industry throughout the 1930s as a salesman with the Kjos Motor Co., also based in Drake.
   In October 1942 Kjos signed on for service in the Second World War, enlisting in the U.S. Air Corps at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. At the completion of his duty, Kjos returned to North Dakota and would later be elected to the Drake City Council as an alderman, his exact time of service being of indeterminate length. Kjos was elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives in November 1954 from McHenry County, serving a term of two years (1955-1957.) Five years after leaving the house Kjos reentered political life, being a successful candidate for the North Dakota State Senate in the 1962 election year. Taking his Senate seat at the beginning of the 1963-65 session, Kjos served on the committees on Appropriations, Transportation and Delayed Bills during this term.

Bencer N. Kjos, from the 1957 North Dakota legislative composite.

   After leaving the Senate in 1965 little could be located on Bencer Kjos' life, and he died two years after completing his term on March 23, 1967, aged 62. Prior to his death, Kjos had been a member of the American Legion and the Masonic, Elks and Shriner's lodges. He was later interred at the Balfour Cemetery in Balfour, North Dakota, the same resting place as that of his parents.

                             A Kjos senate campaign advertisement from the June 21, 1962 Mouse River Journal.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Habbe Boomgaarden (1854-1946)

From the Iowa Official Register, 1909-10.

    A one-term member of the Iowa State House of Representatives, Habbe Boomgaarden was an acknowledged leader in agricultural circles in the county of Lyon, Iowa. During a long life that extended 91 years,  Boomgaarden rose from humble origins in Germany to a successful career in farming in both Illinois and Iowa, becoming active in local politics in the latter state. Unlike most of the individuals profiled here in the past, Boomgaarden is far from a "forgotten" figure, as there are a few sources (both from the early 20th century and more recently) that give extensive mention to him.
   Habbe Sievers Boomgaarden was the son of Meard J. and Antje Habbena Boomgaarden, his birth occurring in the small town of Grothussen in Schlessweig, Province of Holstein, Germany on November 30, 1854. The Boomgaarden family resided in Germany until Habbe was seven, whereafter they immigrated to the United States, first settling in Freeport, Illinois. Here Habbe attended school for four years and in 1866 his family relocated again, purchasing a farm in Grundy County, Iowa. Boomgaarden completed his schooling in this county in 1872 and four years later left his family's farm to establish one of his own, later raising both cattle and hogs.
   Boomgaarden married in Grundy County on October 1878 to Trena "Trinky" Schlutter (1860-1945), and their union of over sixty years saw the births of eleven children over twenty years time: Wiena (1879-1885), Anna (died in infancy in 1880), Wieard (1882-1970), Antje (1884-1957), Babe (1885-1892), Vina (1887-1913), John (1888-1933), Ortwin (1890-1955), Habbe (1893-1967), Ellen (1895-1966) and Edward (1899-1964). Boomgaarden and his family would reside on a farm in Grundy County until 1890, whereafter they removed to the county of Lyon, some 200 miles away. Boomgaarden would later purchase a farm near Rock Rapids and resided in that area for the remainder of his life.
   The Boomgaarden farm near Rock Rapids received prominent mention in the 1904-05  Compendium of History, Reminisce and Biography of Lyon County, which notes that Boomgaarden:
"Extensively engaged in chicken raising, making a specialty of brown leghorns, and two years later turned his attention to sheep culture, having all this time been gradually working into cattle. At present he has a fine herd of shorthorns, numbering about eighty head, some twelve hundred chickens, six hundred sheep, and one hundred and fifty Poland China and mule-footed Ozark hogs."
 The Boomgaarden family, from the Compendium of History, Reminisce and 
Biography of Lyon County, 1904-05.

   In addition to the upkeep and maintenance of his farm, Habbe Boomgaarden was an active participant in the civic affairs of Lyon County, being a stockholder in the Rock Rapids-based Farmer's Elevator Company; a member of the Lyon County Fair Association; a member of the Rock Rapids Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of America lodges; and was a longstanding Unitarian Church member.
   Boomgaarden first entered public life in the mid-1890s when he began service on the school board of Rock Rapids. In November 1908 he was elected as one of Lyon County's representatives to the Iowa General Assembly and took his seat at the beginning of the 1909 term. Boomgaarden proved to be busy as a first-term legislator, being named to the following house committees: Pardons, the Agricultural College, Telegraph and Express, Roads and Highways, Claims, Pharmacy, Horticulture, Fish and Game, Animal Industry and the Hospital for the Insane.
  In November 1910 Boomgaarden was a candidate for reelection, facing off against Democratic nominee Olaf Olson. In an interesting twist, both candidates received 1272 votes on election day, resulting in an electoral quagmire that continued into the beginning of the 1911 term. The Iowa legislature reviewed the election results and decided that there had been "no election on account of the tie vote" and after a house vote, Olaf Olson was declared the victor. Despite being put out of office such an abrupt fashion, Boomgaarden was rewarded by having his "expenses and attorney's fees" paid by the house, the total sum amounting to $316.15.

Habbe Boomgaarden, photo courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

   After many years devoted to farming, Habbe Boomgaarden retired in 1918 and settled in the city of Rock Rapids. He and his wife Trena celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary in October 1944, but six months later he was dealt tragedy when Trena died at age 85 on March 15, 1945. Habbe survived his wife by a little over a year, and in early April 1946 suffered a fall at his Rock Rapids home. This fall later was compounded by the onset of pneumonia, and on April 10, 1946, Habbe Boomgaarden died at age 91. Both he and his wife were later interred in the Boomgaarden family plot at the Riverview Cemetery in Rock Rapids, Iowa.

Boomgaarden's obituary from the Lyon County Reporter, April 18, 1946.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Centenary Bangs Bradshaw (1839-1916)

Portrait from the History of Tama County, Iowa, Volume II, published 1910.
   The following profile examines the life of a man with a truly bizarre name....Centenary Bangs Bradshaw. Without a doubt one of the few people in recorded history to have had "Centenary" as a given first name, Mr. Bradshaw was a native Ohioan who would find distinction in Iowa, being for many years an attorney based in Tama County. Bradshaw would go on to serve that county as its District Attorney and later was elected as an Iowa District Court Judge for the 17th district. 
   One of two sons born to the Rev. Harvey and Susan Sullivan Bradshaw, Centenary Bangs "C.B." Bradshaw was born in Richmond, Jefferson County, Ohio on December 26, 1839. His early education occurred in schools local to Jefferson County and in 1858 relocated to Iowa with his family. Shortly after his removal Bradshaw began studying at the Grinnell College and remained there until 1862 when he enlisted for service in Company F. of the 24th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He participated in the Battles of Champion Hills and Port Gibson, Mississippi and would also see action at the Siege of Vicksburg in May 1863. 
  Discharged from duty in July 1865, Bradshaw had attained the rank of Captain and within a few months of leaving the service went to enroll at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Here he began the study of law and after graduating in 1867 returned to Iowa, settling in the town of Toledo in Tama County. Bradshaw would establish a law practice here in 1867 with attorney George Rix Struble (1836-1918), later to serve as a state circuit judge and Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives. Their partnership lasted until 1870, whereafter Bradshaw continued operations alone.
  On his 28th birthday in 1867 Centenary Bradshaw married to Mary Ann Hayzlett (1846-1892), with whom he would have two children, a daughter, Alice (1869-1942) and a son, Charles Sullivan Bradshaw (1871-1952), later to follow in his father's footsteps as an Iowa district court judge from 1911-12. Bradshaw would remarry following Mary Ann Bradshaw's death to Rachel Morrison in 1904.

                    Centenary B. Bradshaw during his Civil War service, courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

  With decades of legal practice in Tama County "C.B." Bradshaw became acknowledged as one of that county's sterling legal minds, with the Iowa Bar Annual Report of 1916 describing him as:
"A lawyer of the old school who scorned to solicit business or permit anyone else to solicit business for him. He was a capable trial lawyer and always courteous to his opponents. He won high repute as a lawyer and was regarded by the profession as one of the ablest judges of the state."
   While he may have been a prominent member of the Tama County bar, Bradshaw was firm when it came to refraining from political activity, refusing to become a candidate for public office. This changed in 1885 when he was appointed by the county's board of supervisors as the Attorney for Tama County, serving until 1887. After the position of county attorney was made elective, he was elected to a second term as attorney in 1892, serving another two-year term. He was defeated for reelection in 1894 by his Democratic opponent Ezra C. Ebersole. Following his defeat, Bradshaw returned to his practice in Toledo until 1906, when he was nominated for District Judge for Iowa's 17th District, comprising the counties of Tama, Marshall, and Benton. Bradshaw won the election and entered upon his duties in 1907. He was re-elected as judge in 1911 and retired from the bench in 1915 due to health concerns.
   After resigning Judge Bradshaw spent the last year of his life practicing law in Toledo, dying there on January 11, 1916 at age 76. He was survived by his wife Rachel and was later interred alongside his first wife at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Iowa.

From the Maurice Times, January 22, 1916.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Olnton Dickman Miller (1896-1981)

From the 1953 Arizona General Assembly class portrait.

   Prominent in Arizona agricultural affairs as well as politics, the oddly named Olnton Dickman Miller was a native of Illinois, but would find distinction in "The Grand Canyon State", being a one-term member of the Arizona State Senate and a candidate for Governor in the 1956 primary.
  The son of John McAnelley (a lawyer and professor) and Adeline Dickman Miller, Olnton Dickman "O.D." Miller was born on February 6, 1896 in North Harvey, Illinois. John McAnelly Miller was a past president of the Ruskin College in Missouri, later relocating to Florida to establish not only the town of Ruskin but also a short-lived college (also named Ruskin College) in 1910. With his son's birth in early 1896, John McA. Miller decided to bestow upon him a highly unusual name, and the backstory behind this name is given mention in the 1958 History of Arizona, which notes:
"As an educator, George McA. Miller had a profound respect for the great men in our nation's history; and he also wanted to give his son an original name. He therefore combined the last three letters of Lincoln's and of Washington's names to form Olnton".
    Although bestowed this interesting name due to his father's passion for history, Miller himself was nonplussed, later stating that "I've never used it--just my initials." "O.D." Miller spent his formative years in Illinois, removing with his family to Florida in 1907 where his father founded the community of Ruskin. O.D. Miller would go on to attend the nearby Ruskin College, where he studied agriculture, and while still a young man began work as a "scientific assistant for marketing" at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His work at this department saw him be reassigned to Nebraska in the early 1920s, being a local representative for the USDA's Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates, and later moved to Phoenix, Arizona to continue agricultural work. O.D. Miller married in Lansing, Michigan on July 23, 1923 to Frances "Frankie" H. McDonald (1890-1967) and later had one son, Donald L. Miller.
   Following his removal to Arizona Miller became the directing head of the Barker-Miller Distributing Co., and as this company's director was also a member of the Arizona Co-operative Produce Association. Through his business interests Olnton Miller would become one of Arizona's premier growers of produce and produce distribution, and in 1929 was instrumental in authoring the state's Fruit and Vegetable Standardization Act, "which legalized standards and grades for agricultural products in the state."
   Throughout the 1930s and 40s Olnton Miller continued to be involved in various aspects of state agriculture, being a co-owner of the Phoenix-based Miller-Johns produce-shipping company and a first vice president of the Western Grower's Protective Association. In 1938 he ran an unsuccessful candidacy for the Arizona House of Representatives as a Democrat, and in 1952 re-entered the political spectrum when he was elected to represent Maricopa County in the Arizona State Senate. Serving in the legislative session of 1953-55, Miller left the senate after one term and in 1956 announced his candidacy for Governor of Arizona. Running as one of three Republican candidates that year, Miller had a bit of explaining to do when it was found that he had run as a Democrat in the race for state representative eighteen years prior. In his speech to the Yavapai Republican Women's Club, Miller stated that he:

 "Campaigned as a member of that party because he felt it improved his chances of being elected, and of being able, as a member of the legislature, to present his ideas on the operations of state government."
   Miller later explained that after his 1938 loss he had registered as a Republican and had been a member of that party ever since. Miller's gubernatorial candidacy eventually came to naught, but he achieved some measure of redemption when in 1959 he began an eight year tenure on the Arizona State University Board of Regents.

       Miller (second from left) during his time on the Board of Regents,  from the 1960 Desert Yearbook.

   Olnton D. Miller resigned from the Board of Regents in 1967 at age 71 and in June 1972 was honored by the Arizona State University with an Honorary Degree. He died nine years later on December 12, 1981 and was preceded in death by his wife Frances, who had died in 1967. Both were interred at a cemetery "near Phoenix, Arizona", and are also memorialized with a cenotaph at the Ruskin Cemetery in Ruskin, Florida, the burial location of a number of Miller's family.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kingsbury Bachelder Piper (1866-1935)

From the November 14, 1933 edition of the Lewiston Daily Sun.

   Over the course of its nearly 200-year history, the state of Maine has placed a number of oddly named public figures on the U.S. political scene. In national politics men such as Cullen Sawtelle, Peleg Sprague and Lorenzo Di Medici Sweat represented the "Pine Tree State" in Congress, and on the home front men like Dependent MerryOramandal SmithEsreff Hill Banks and Retire Whittemore Frees served as state representatives, state Treasurer and Secretary of State. The list of oddly named Maine politicians grows ever larger with the addition of Kingsbury Bachelder Piper, a Bangor educator who served as a member of the Maine state house of representatives for one term, later being named as U.S. Marshal for Maine in 1934.
   The son of Alpheus Felch Piper and the former Susan Hannah Smith, Kingsbury B. Piper was born in Waldo County, Maine on February 4, 1866. Little could be found on his youth or education, although it is known that he began a career as a school teacher in 1882, teaching school in various towns in Maine. In 1886 he relocated to California and continued teaching, eventually serving as the principal of the Plymouth Public School in Plymouth California. Piper returned to Maine around 1893 and married in that year to Estelle Drew (1869-1918), with whom he would have four children, Lois M., Carl P., Josephine L. and Dorothy Eva Piper. Following Estelle Piper's death in 1918 Kingsbury remarried at an unknown date to Ida L. Kearney (1883-1967) who survived him upon his death in 1935.
  In the years following his return to Maine, Kingsbury Piper continued to teach and also took work as a "legislative newspaper correspondent", whilst also becoming politically active, serving as the Secretary of the Initiative and Referendum League of Maine. As secretary Piper became a prominent voice for direct legislation in the state and also authored numerous articles in periodicals of the time, centering on Maine's successful adoption of direct legislation into its state constitution (this occurring in 1908.) Piper also authored a lengthy summation of the group's victory in Volume 40 of the Arena magazine, which later attested to his having been:
"The master spirit in the battle for the people for many years, and but for his persistence, energy, foresight and true statesmanship, the measure unquestionably would have suffered defeat through the well laid plains of the enemies of the people."
 Kingsbury Piper first entered into public service in 1912 when he was named as a state pension agent for Maine, succeeding George Dodge, who had died several weeks prior. Two years afterward Piper began service as a trustee and secretary for the Central Maine Sanitorium at Fairfield, and would later be employed as a Federal income tax adviser, accountant, and internal revenue agent.
From the Bay State Monthly, 1907.

   Piper continued to be active in politics well into his sixth decade, being elected as one of Bangor's representatives to the Maine General Assembly in 1932. Serving in the 1933-34 legislative session, Piper's tenure in the house of representatives lasted but one term, and in his final year of service was nominated by President Roosevelt to be the United States Marshal for Maine. Piper was later confirmed and entered upon his duties in March 1934, serving until his death at age 68 on January 14, 1935. He was later buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Bangor, also the resting place of his first and second wives.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Zibeon Chapman Field (1831-1914), Zibeon Lewis Packard (1829-1893)

Portrait from the History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Vol. II, 1889.

  The following dual profile examines the lives of two native New England political figures named Zibeon. A name with biblical origins, there are two meanings behind the name, one of which is a "Horite chieftain" named Zibeon noted in the book of Genesis whose name translates to "little hyena". Another version gives the meaning of the name as "robber"...truly a peculiar name to give a child, even back in the 19th century!
   First to be profiled is Paris, Maine native Zibeon Chapman Field, who would later find prominence in both business and politics in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving two terms in that state's House of Representatives. Born in Paris on Christmas Day 1831, Zibeon C. Field was one of ten children born to Zibeon and Lydia Howe Field and inherited his name courtesy of a brother (also named Zibeon Chapman Field) who died in infancy in 1823. His early education occurred near the town of his birth and at age seventeen removed from Paris and resettled in Milford, Massachusetts, where he was employed in the manufacture of boots. Field would later leave Milford out of concerns for his health and traveled to California to make a go at gold mining, remaining here for three years.
   In 1855 Field returned to Massachusetts, marrying in 1856 to one Lydia Ann Corbett (1836-1872). The couple would become the parents of four children, listed as follows in order of birth: Prentice (1859-1863), Francis Dana (1861-1932), Charlotte Thayer (1865-1911) and Grace Prentiss (1868-1962). Following Lydia Field's death, Zibeon remarried in June 1874 to Anna Thwing (1842-1913), mentioned by the Field Genealogy as being a "successful teacher" and "woman of culture."
   For a short period in the 1850s Zibeon Field operated a general store and "provision business" in Roxbury, Massachusetts, returning to Milford in 1858 to join his brother Perley in the formation of a coal and lumber dealership, a business they would successfully manage for over three decades. While attentive to business dealings in Milford, Field found further distinction in local politics, being a member of the Board of Engineers, as well as the Milford Board of Selectmen from 1865-66 and again from 1870-71. In 1864 Field served Milford as a town agent, aiding in the recruitment of soldiers for the ongoing war effort, and in this role visited President Lincoln. His visit with the President later:
"Secured the credit of one-hundred and thirty-seven three years men to Milford--which has not been recorded in its favor at the war department--thereby saving the loss of many thousands of dollars to the town.
    Zibeon Field during his later years, from the 1901 Field Genealogy.

    In the 1864 election year Zibeon Field was elected as one of Milford's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, and during the 1865 term held a seat on the house committee on Horse Railways. Field would serve a second term in the legislature in 1866, serving on the committees on Railways and Canals. Following his two terms in the house Field refrained from political activity, but did serve as the chairman of the Republican League of Milford during the mid-1870s. Remarked by the Field Genealogy as "a Mason in good standing", Zibeon Field was a member of both the Montgomery Lodge and Mt. Lebanon Masonic chapter, a director of the Milford National Bank, and was a longstanding parishioner at the Milford Universalist Church.
   After many decades in public service in Milford, Zibeon C. Field died on December 18, 1914, a week short of his 83rd birthday. He was predeceased by his second wife Anna, who died in August 1913. A burial location for both Zibeon Field and his wife is unknown at this time. 

   Another Maine native who made his name known politically was Zibeon Lewis Packard of the town of Hebron, who served a term in the Maine House of Representatives in the late 1880s. One of six children born to Lewis and Betsy Webster Packard, Zibeon L. Packard was born in Hebron on May 30, 1829, and as a youth worked the family farm, and was "obliged to assume the head of the family" after the death of his father. Zibeon attended the Hebron Academy in addition to farm work and also taught "in the district schools" during the winter months. 
  In February 1860 Packard married in Hebron to Ellen Bearce (1835-1895), later becoming the parents to four daughters: Bertha Leonora (1862-1908), Ida Ellen (born 1864), Edith Lulu (1867-1967) and Jennie Webster (1871-1942). One of these children, Edith Lulu Packard Cushman, survived her father and mother by over seventy years, dying one month short of her 100th birthday in June 1967.  A few years following his marriage Zibeon Packard enlisted for service as private in the 30th Regiment, Maine Volunteer Infantry. Following his return from service, he returned to farming and fruit growing, and was later acknowledged by the Lewiston Evening Journal as "one of the pioneers of apple orcharding in this section and made it a remarkable success." 
  Beginning the mid-1870s Packard was honored by his native town by being elected to a number of local political offices, serving as a Hebron town school supervisor, selectman, town treasurer, and collector. In 1886 he was elected as Hebron's representative to the Maine State Legislature and would serve in the sessions of 1887 and 1889. In addition to legislative service, Packard was also prominent in local fraternal clubs, being a member of the Buckfield, Maine Masonic Lodge, the Hebron Grange, and the G.A.R. The Lewiston Evening Journal notes that Packard remained a "firm friend" of the Hebron Academy, serving as the secretary of the school's board of trustees for over twenty-five years.
   Zibeon L. Packard died at his home in Hebron on August 11, 1893 at age 64. His wife Ellen followed him to the grave two years later, and both were later interred at the Maple Ridge Cemetery in Hebron. Following his death, the Lewiston Evening Journal published a lengthy obituary for him, noting that:
"Whoever held a beneficient relationship with Zibeon L. Packard, whether in the Church, in the Grange, in any organized society, in general society or in his family, has met with an irreparable loss."

Monday, April 14, 2014

French Oxford Joy Tarbox (1861-1924)

Portrait from the Representative Men of Somerville, 1897.

   It isn't often that one stumbles across a man whose named combines a nationality, a city in England, an alternate word for happiness and the funny last name "Tarbox", but that is exactly the case of obscure Massachusetts legislator French Oxford Joy Tarbox, a distinguished figure in the city of Somerville. The son of Ephraim and Clara Tarbox, French O .J. Tarbox was born on September 1, 1861, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He attended the public school system of that city and "graduated from the grammar school in the class of 1877." He would later attend the Boston Commercial College for a period of about six months, leaving behind his studies to begin a life on the high seas. Tarbox would serve on board a number of vessels and is recorded by the 1900 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators as:
 "Following the seas for several years in the East India and China trade as well as a coast service on the Pacific between San Francisco and adjacent ports."
   After giving up the sea-faring life Tarbox returned home and was engaged in the oil business and later worked as a steam and air brake fitter, being in the employ of the Fitchburg Railroad and the Walworth Manufacturing Co. of Boston. He married in Boston on September 22, 1890, to Sarah E. Magrath, and the couple would later become the parents of three children: Sarah Jennie (birth-date unknown), Wilfred (birth-date unknown) and Ida (born ca. 1899).
  French O.J. Tarbox entered Somerville politics in the mid-1890s, beginning service on the city's common council in 1896. In the following year he served as a member of the Somerville Board of Aldermen (from 1898-1899) and in the latter year was elected as one of Middlesex County's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, winning with a vote total of 1552. Taking office at the start of the 1900 term, Tarbox held a seat on the house committee on Taxation during his one term at the state capitol.
   Following his brief stint in state government, little else could be located on the remaining years of French O.J. Tarbox's life, and aside from political activity, he maintained memberships in the Bunker Hill Odd Fellows Lodge # 114, the Loyal Orange Institute and the Fitchburg Railroad Relief Association. He is recorded in the 1913 Somerville Annual Report as a "mechanic", being employed by the Boston Elevated Railway Company. A death date and burial location couldn't be located for French O.J. Tarbox, although he is listed in the 1920 census as being a 58-year-old resident of Ward 7 in Somerville, residing with his wife, children, son-in-law, and two boarders. Tarbox is not listed in the 1930 census, placing his death at some point between 1920 and 1930.

  From the 1900 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators.

  In an addendum to this article on August 19, 2019, I'd like to give a hail and hearty thank you to SNIAPH site fan Connor Mah, who not only located a death date and location for French O.J. Tarbox (died April 25, 1924 in West Somerville), but also sent along the following obituary, which denotes Tarbox's death as being caused by peritonitis and pneumonia. A week prior to his death, Tarbox was admitted to the Somerville Hospital due to appendicitis but didn't recover.

From the Boston Globe, April 25, 1924. Courtesy of Connor Mah.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hardress Nathan Swaim (1890-1957)

Portrait from Swaim's Memorial Record of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

   A leading legal light in Indiana for over three decades, Hardress Nathan Swaim (or H. Nathan Swaim, as most sources list him) entered into the practice of law at age 26 and from there established himself as a prominent Democratic party member in Indianapolis, holding the office of Indianapolis City Controller. Later nominated to a vacancy on the Indiana Supreme Court, Judge Swaim achieved further distinction in 1950 when he was appointed to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, serving several years on the bench.
   Born in Zionsville, Indiana on November 30, 1890, Hardress Nathan Swaim was a son of Charles R. and Alice Swaim and attended public schools in Zionsville. He would later enroll at the DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and waited tables as a means of income during his time at the university. Swaim is also recorded as having "tutored other students in Germanand graduated from DePauw in the class of 1913. He continued his education at the University of Chicago Law School and earned his law degree here in 1916. 
  Following his graduation Swaim established his law practice in Indianapolis, only to be interrupted by the beginning of American involvement in the First World War. Swaim, like many other young men of the time, joined in the war effort, undergoing training and served as an infantry lieutenant in both the 87th and 88th Infantry divisions. He left the Army in 1918 with the rank of first lieutenant and had married during his training period to Clara Lavon Kenner on July 14, 1917. The couple would later have two children, Robert (1924-1990) and Jean Swaim Sutter (born ca. 1926).

                   H. Nathan Swaim's senior class portrait from the 1913 DePauw "Mirage" Yearbook.

   After returning home from the Army Swaim returned to the practice of law, residing in Indianapolis where he would raise his family. He established the firm Ogden and Swaim with local attorney James M. Ogden, and Mr. Ogden would remain the only law partner Swaim would have during all his years of practice. Described in his U.S. Circuit Court memorial proceeding as being "widely respected by the bench and bar",  Swaim was recalled as a
"Studious, thorough, painstaking lawyer of sound judgement. His integrity was always beyond question. He was not a specialist in any field. That general experience was very valuable to him in learning to deal with the endless variety of cases which came before him on this court."
   H. Nathan Swaim began involvement in Hoosier state politics in 1930 when he began serving as the chairman of the Marion County Democratic Committee, holding this office for four years. He would go on to serve as Indiana's 12th district Democratic chairman from 1936-38 and in 1937 began a term as Indianapolis City Comptroller (1937-38). In his last year of service as controller Swaim was elected to the Indiana State Supreme Court defeating Republican candidate Edward Blessing by a vote of 31, 177 to 20, 846. Swaim took his seat on January 1, 1939, and would serve one term on the court, being defeated for reelection in 1944.
  Five years following his loss Swaim was selected by then-President Harry Truman to be his nominee for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Appointed during the court recess in November 1949, Swaim was confirmed by the senate in February 1950 and took his seat that month. He would serve on the court until his death in Chicago, Illinois on July 30, 1957 at age 66, and was subsequently memorialized as:
"A simple, forthright man of high ideals, a man of gentle power, tolerant, but with the strength of his convictions. He was intellectually honest. He had the common touch. It was part of him. He never lost these qualities even while serving in high places.
Judge Swaim (pictured left) at the Columbus Day dinner celebration at Indianapolis, 1939.

   Following his death, Judge Swaim was interred at Indianapolis's famed Crown Hill Cemetery and was survived by his wife Clara and two children. Clara Swaim survived her husband by twenty-one years, dying in August 1978 and was interred in the same cemetery as her husband.