Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Euzema Clarence Bower (1849-1923)

From the History of the Bench and Bar of California, 1912.

  Prominent in law circles in both Georgia and California, Euzema Clarence Bower began his career in public life in the Peach State, where he served as a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention and later, a term in the state senate. Following his term in the senate Bower would resettle in California, where he gained further prominence as an attorney, even being a candidate for District Attorney of Los Angeles County in 1894.
   Born in the town of Cuthbert, Georgia  on October 18, 1849, Euzema Clarence "E.C." Bower was the son of Isaac Eben Bower (1811-1873, a distinguished attorney) and his wife Adeline DeMonthalt Breedlove Bower (1823-1895). Euzema C. Bower began his education in "the public schools of Georgia" and first entered public service at age seventeen, being named as a deputy collector of Internal Revenue. During this time he began the study of law and in 1868 was admitted to the Georgia state bar. Bower would operate a practice in the city of Bainbridge for two years with his older brother Byron Beaufort (1839-1923) and later removed from this area to establish another law office in Blakely, Georgia. In 1871 Bower was selected as a delegate to Georgia's Democratic State Convention and in the following year served as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention being held in Baltimore.
   Bower's residency in Blakely saw him seek out political office, and in 1876 was elected as one of Georgia's delegates to the Republican National Convention in St. Louis that would nominate Samuel J. Tilden for the Presidency. In November of that year, Bower won election to the Georgia State Senate from Early County and married in October 1879 to Harriett S. Daffin (1853-1939). The couple later had five children, listed as follows in order of birth: Italja (1881-1962), Leland Sanborn (1882-1963), Euzema Clarence Jr. (1884-1917), Forrest Hill (1891-1953) and Helen Mayeska (1892-1983).
   In November 1878 Bower won re-election to the senate and held his seat until leaving office in 1881. Further political honors were accorded to him in 1884 when he was elected as Mayor of Blakely, serving one term in office. Shortly after the conclusion of his term Bower and his family removed from Blakely and resettled in Los Angeles, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives.

Portrait from Shuck's "History of the Bench and Bar of California", 1901.

  Following his relocation, Bower returned to practicing law, and in the succeeding years made his name known in legal circles throughout the city. His skill as an attorney received mention in Oscar Tully Shuck's 1901 "History of the Bench and Bar of California", which notes that:
"There is, perhaps, no lawyer in the state who is better posted in the practice of courts, or who is more familiar with the provisions of the codes, and the decisions of the Supreme Court."
 During his California residency, E.C. Bower refrained from pursuing public office, excepting his unsuccessful 1894 candidacy for District Attorney of Los Angeles County. In that contest Bower faced off against Republican candidate John C. Donnell, with the Los Angeles Herald reporting that:
"The people want as district attorney a man whom the facts of record prove to be a competent, practicing attorney, not a bloviating cross-roads politician. They will elect Mr. Bower."
 In the November 1894 election, it was Donnell who triumphed, besting Bower in the vote count, going on to serve as district attorney until 1899. After his defeat, Bower continued with his law practice and also maintained memberships in the Los Angeles Bar Association and both the Masonic and Moose Lodges. He died at age 74 in March 1923 and was later interred at Los Angeles' famed Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the resting place of such luminaries as Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille, Mel Blanc, Peter Lorre, Adolphe Menjou, and Mickey Rooney.

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