Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jerubial Gideon Dorman (1818-1910)

Portrait from the "Illustrated History of Missouri", 1876.

  The Missouri State Assembly once again takes center stage with another oddly named state representative, Jerubial Gideon Dorman of Henry County. A resident of both Kentucky and Illinois prior to his removal to Missouri, Dorman served as Henry County Judge during the early 1860s and in 1872 was elected to represent his adopted home county in the Missouri General Assembly for one term. A son of Kentucky farmer Matthew Dorman and his wife, the former Atlanta Barnes, Jerubial Gideon Dorman was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky on July 17, 1818. His family removed to the neighboring county of Gallatin soon after his birth, and Dorman is recorded as having attended a "primitive log school house" and also worked on his father's farm. 
  The daily drudgery of farm work during his youth eventually proved to be too much for Jerubial, who left the farm and took to the water, working upon riverboats for several years. Like so many other young men of the time, Dorman caught the gold rush bug in 1849, and in that year began his journey to California via the water, embarking from Quincy, Illinois. He would eventually join a party of fellow "49ers" and went aboard the ship "Galveston", which experienced a spot of trouble when it was caught in a storm in the Carribean Sea. The ship wrecked during the storm, and Dorman and his fellow travelers made it safely to a port in Honduras. The party would reach California some weeks after the wreck, but Dorman would reside in California but a short time, returning to his home in Quincy around 1851. 
   On April 12, 1852 Dorman married in Quincy to Udolpha F. Miller (1830-1906), with whom he would have seven children: Charles Douglas (1853-1938), William Henry (1855-1941), George Harris (1858-1938), Oscar McClellan (1862-1939), Emma Katherine (1864-1947), Lucy Bell (died in infancy in 1867) and Victoria Olivette (1867-1964).
   Three years after his marriage Dorman and his family relocated from Illinois to Missouri, settling in the town of Clinton in Henry County. Shortly after his arrival he established a mercantile business in town and for several years after was the only such store "of any importance in the county." Dorman would also dabble in banking in addition to his mercantile firm, being a founder and first president of the First National Bank of Clinton. 
   Dorman first became active in local politics after Clinton was incorporated as a town in 1858 when he was named as a town trustee. He also served as a member of the town school board and in 1860 was elected as the judge of Henry County. In the same year as his election as judge Dorman served as a delegate to the Missouri State Convention being held in Jefferson City, and had earlier helped draft a resolution to "conserve the Union." In 1872 he was elected as one of Henry County's representatives in the Missouri General Assembly, by  "a majority of 575". The 1874 Biographical Sketches of the Missouri Legislature described Dorman as:
"A Democrat of the old school, an intelligent, high minded gentleman, deliberate and careful of speech and vote, and ever mindful of the interest of his people and of the state. He is a gentleman of modest worth and sterling integrity."
   Noted as being "industrious in the interests of his constituents", Dorman's term concluded in 1875 and he returned to his farm in Clinton. A member of the Odd Fellows Lodge for over fifty years, Dorman is noted as having the "distinction of being the oldest member in the state". He died at age 91 on February 4, 1910 and was interred at the Englewood Cemetery in Clinton. He had been predeceased by his wife Udolpha in 1906, and is a far from forgotten figure in Clinton, with his home (erected in the 1850s) being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in February 1983. The two-story brick home (mentioned as being the first of its kind in Clinton) can be toured by appointment.
   One should also note that there are two spelling variations of Dorman's first name, being given as both "Jerubal" and "Jerubial". While editions of the Official Missouri Manual lists the former spelling, Dorman's own death certificate records it as "Jerubial", and it is that spelling that is given in the title to his article here. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cuno Hugo Rudolph (1860-1932)

Portrait courtesy of the Library of Congress photograph collection.

   The second oddly named political figure from Washington, D.C. to be profiled here on the site, Cuno Hugo Rudolph's political claim-to-fame rests on his service as the president of the Washington, D.C. Board of Commissioners. As the governing body of the District of Columbia from 1874 to 1967, the Board of Commissioners was made up of three members, of which one would be elected as President of the Board. Maryland native Cuno H. Rudolph served as president of this Board on two separate occasions, holding the post for a total of eight years. 
   Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Cuno Hugo Rudolph was born on June 26, 1860. The son of Jacob and Elizabeth Yerger Rudolph, young Cuno attended private schools in the city of his birth and would go on to study at both the Stadtler Business College and the Bryant and Stratton Business College. Rudolph removed from Baltimore around 1889 and soon after resettled in Washington, D.C., where he would become engaged in the hardware business, having bought a small share in the local hardware firm of J.H. Chesley and Co. Rudolph would eventually establish his own hardware firm, operating under the name of Rudolph and West Co., of which he served as president. Rudolph married on June 8, 1901 to Amy Edna Merz (1868-1951), who survived him upon his death in 1932. The couple's three decade marriage would be childless.
   While still attentive to his hardware firm, Cuno Rudolph began to branch out into other areas of Washington, D.C. business life, including service as the President of the West Brothers Brick Company. Rudolph also made headway into the financial affairs of the city, being a Vice President of the National Metropolitan Bank, a director of the Union Savings Bank, a vice president of the Washington D.C. Board of Trade, and was the director of the Washington D.C., Chamber of Commerce.

From the Washington, D.C. Herald, September 1, 1910.

   Sources of the time denote that Mr. Rudolph was involved in numerous charitable societies and fraternal organizations in our nation's capital, attaining high office in nearly all of them. In the early 1900s, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Washington D.C. Public Playground Committee, serving as the group's chairman for several years. He would occupy the post of chairman of the Public Playground Association and maintained memberships in the Prisoner's Aid Society, the Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, the Columbia Historical Society and the Washington Country Club. In addition to all of the above, Rudolph would also serve as a trustee and executive board member of Howard University.
   In 1910 President William Howard Taft appointed Cuno Rudolph as a member of the Washington, D.C. Board of Commissioners, and he officially entered into office in January of that year. He was elected as Board President by his fellow commissioners shortly afterward and continued in the office until resigning in March 1913, when he was named a member of the District of Columbia's Public Utilities Commission, serving in office until July of that year. Following his resigning from that office in July 1913 Rudolph returned to his banking interests in the capital, serving as the president of the Second National Bank of Washington until 1921. 
   In 1921 Rudolph was reappointed to the D.C. Board of Commissioners by then President Warren Harding and was again elected Board President, serving until his resignation in October 1926. Following his departure, the Who Was Who In America 1897-1942 notes that Rudolph was "tendered a dinner by 1,000 citizens" in December 1926, and was later presented with a "silver service by the people of Washington."
   After leaving the office of commissioner Cuno Rudolph continued to be active in the civic affairs in Washington, and in 1930 was tapped to head the District of Columbia Bicentennial Commission, organized to celebrate the 1932 bicentennial celebration of George Washington's birth. Shortly before the celebration of Washington's bicentennial birth (which was to take place on February 22, 1932), Cuno Rudolph died, his death occurring on January 6, 1932. He was later interred at the Lorraine Park Cemetery in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland. His wife Amy survived him by nearly twenty years, dying at age 83 in 1951, and was later buried in the same cemetery as her husband.
Cuno Hugo Rudolph, around the time of his service on the D.C. Board of Commissioners.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Flamen Ball (1809-1885)

Portrait from the 1887 Illustrated Cincinnati Business Directory.

   A distinguished name in Ohio law circles during the mid 19th century, a name like "Flamen Ball" is certainly worth a many men do you know of that possess a name that immediately conjures up images of a bright fiery ball...a "flamin' ball", if you will!! During a career in law that extended over forty years, Ball operated a law practice with future Ohio Governor and U.S. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, and in 1861 was appointed as U.S. District Attorney for Ohio's Southern District. Ball was also honored by being elected to multiple terms as Mayor of Clifton, Ohio (a satellite village within Cincinnati.)
  A native of New York state, Flamen Ball was born in New York City on January 9, 1809, being the son of Flamen Ball Sr. and Anna Western Ball. In the late 1820s, he began to study law under the tutelage of his father and would put his studies on hold to work in a mercantile business for a time. Ball married in New York in 1829 to married Evelina Candler Ball (1810-1864) with whom he would have ten children. They are listed as follows in order of birth: Evelina Candler (born 1831), Flamen (died in infancy in 1834), Samuel Candler (died in infancy in 1836), Flamen III (1837-1912), Charles Henry (1841-1843), Laura Amelia (born 1844), George Harry (died in infancy in 1846), Susan Louise (1847-1934), Alice Devereux (died in infancy in 1852) and Allen Devereux (1854-1860). 
   In 1832 Flamen Ball relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio to continue in business, and did not resume his law studies until the late 1830s, when he entered the Cincinnati College as a law student. He graduated in the class of 1838 with his law degree and shortly thereafter formed a law practice in Cincinnati with Salmon Portland Chase (1809-1873), later to find nationwide prominence in politics, serving at various times as Governor of Ohio, Lincoln's Treasury Secretary and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1864-1873. The firm of Chase and Ball would exist for twenty years, until being discontinued in 1858, when Chase was re-elected as Governor of Ohio (having first been elected in 1856.) 
  Three years after the dissolution of the Chase and Ball firm, Flamen Ball was appointed by President Lincoln to be U.S. District Attorney for Ohio's Southern District. He served in office from 1861-1869 and two years before leaving office was named as a U.S. Register in Bankruptcy by his old friend Salmon Chase, who was then serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Ball would serve as register until his death in 1885, and his time in office was profiled in Volume 13 of the American Law Record, which notes that:
"As a Register he transacted the majority of the bankruptcy business of this county. The questions passed upon by him were numerous and important. His opinions were frequently able, elaborate, and, in almost every case, affirmed by the court. He examined all questions submitted to him with exemplary care and thoroughness, and never failed to dispose of every question submitted."
  Flamen Ball (portrait courtesy of Find-a-Grave).

   Prior to his service as district attorney Flamen Ball had been instrumental in the incorporation of the village of Clifton, Ohio, a small satellite community within the city of Cincinnati. Ball first proposed a charter to incorporate the village in 1849 and after presenting the charter/petition to the Ohio General Assembly the village officially came into being in March 1850. Ball would later serve the village as its mayor on multiple occasions, serving from 1851-1855, 1856, and again from 1869-1871. 
  Despite being over fifty years old at the dawn of the Civil War, Flamen Ball was a staunch Union man, and as such organized a company of volunteers, mainly consisting of Clifton residents. Ball later was commissioned as a captain and served as an aide to Major General John Ellis Wool, and at the war's conclusion returned to Cincinnati to resume his law practice.
  In 1864, Flamen Ball's wife of over thirty years, Evelina Candler Ball, died at age 54. He would remarry in 1873 to Elizabeth Parmalee, a native of Brooklyn, New York. Several years prior to his death Ball removed to Glendale, Ohio, and continued in the practice of law until six months before his death. Health concerns plagued him during his last weeks of life, and two days before his passing "was attacked with a hemorrhage of the brain" and died on January 20, 1885 at his Glendale home. Ball was later buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, the same resting place as that of his wife Evelina.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mansfield Livingston Plympton (1867-1934)

Portrait from the 1915 Florida State Blue Book.

  A businessman and prominent citizen of Lake City, Florida, Mansfield Livingston Plympton was elected to four terms in the Florida State Senate between 1914 and 1921. While little biographical material has come to light on Mr. Plympton, the above picture of him (located via the 1915 Florida State Blue Book) has come as a welcome surprise. This particular blue book also yielded another oddly named Florida state legislator, Link Field Forehand (1877-1916), who was profiled here back in May of 2013.
   Born in Columbia County, Florida in December 1867, Mansfield L. Plympton was the son of Joseph Ruggles and Cassa Osteen Plympton. His early life was centered in Lake City, Florida where he attended school and was a graduate of the University of Florida, then located at Lake City. Described as being a "successful merchant" in Lake City by the Florida Blue Book, Plympton is mentioned as being the operator of a mercantile establishment/general store in that city for sixteen years. Information has been located that also notes that he was the manager of the "Plympton Opera House" in Lake City, with a holding capacity of 500 people on both floor and balcony.
  Aside from his business interests in his native city, Mansfield Plympton was a member of the Lake City city council for a decade, serving as board president for eight of those years. A past secretary of the Columbia County Democratic Executive Committee, Plympton was elected to represent that county (and other area's in the 17th district) in the Florida State Senate in November 1914. Taking his seat in January of the new year, Plympton's first term in the senate saw him sit on the committees on Game and Fisheries, Mining and Minerals, Municipalities, Organized Labor, Public Health. He also served as chairman of the committee on Insurance, and was recognized by the Bluebook for being:
"Sincere in his efforts to obtain clean and just legislation for his district and the state of Florida."
   Following a successful first term as a freshman senator, Plympton was returned to the senate by the voters of Florida's 17th district in the elections of 1916, 1918 and 1920. Upon the completion of his final term in 1923, he returned to Lake City, and in the following year took an active part in forming a campaign committee for U.S. Senator Oscar Wilder Underwood of Alabama, who was then contemplating a run for President. A lifelong bachelor, Plympton died in Lake City on December 15, 1934 at age 64, later being interred at the Oak Lawn Cemetery in Lake City, the same resting place of that of his father Joseph. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Epenetus Howe (1836-1909)

From the New York Legislative Souvenir of 1894.

    The New York state assembly has fielded a number of oddly named political figures in its lengthy history, and the vast number of Empire state assemblymen profiled here grows ever larger with the addition of Mr. Epenetus Howe. Aside from possessing a truly strange first name, Mr. Howe is also the proud owner of one of the most magnificent mustaches this author has ever seen! His impressive facial hair notwithstanding, Epenetus Howe was a leading political figure in Tioga County, New York, representing that county in the New York State Assembly for two terms in the mid 1890s. Earlier in his political career, Howe had served as a township supervisor and was a candidate of the Greenback Party for the U.S. House of Representatives, New York Secretary of State and Governor of New York.
   Epenetus Howe's birth occurred in Auburn, New York on December 6, 1836, a son of Epenetus (1798-1863) and Emeline Cooper Howe (1808-1847). His youth was spent in Auburn, New York City and Elizabeth, New Jersey, and he is recorded as having attended school "in the latter place." He engaged in the mercantile business in Tompkins County, New York until about 1852, when he returned to the town of Elizabeth. Two years later he returned to Tompkins County, settling in the village of Caroline. Howe married in 1859 to Sarah Amanda Legg (1835-1911) and the couple is noted as being childless through their fifty years of marriage.
   Howe's residence in Caroline saw him purchase a farm in 1858, operating it for a number of years, and in the mid 1870s entered into local politics, being elected as Supervisor of the township of Caroline on two occasions, 1876 and 1877. In the latter year, he switched political allegiance to the Greenback Party, having formerly been a voter of the Republican and Democratic tickets. The Greenback Party (based on a platform of anti-monopolies, currency reform, and farmer-labor) experienced its heyday in the late 1870s and early 1880s, running Presidential candidates on three occasions, and also fielded nearly two dozen U.S. Representatives elected between 1879 and 1888. 
    As a leading figure in the Greenback party in New York in the late 1870s, Epenetus Howe was the Greenback candidate for high office on three occasions between 1878 and 1884, the first occurring in 1878, when he ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 26th district. As one of four candidates vying for the seat, Howe placed third on election day, garnering only 1,883 votes to incumbent Republican Jeremiah Dwight's winning total of 15, 559. Howe's 1880 candidacy for Secretary of the State of New York brought him another loss, being trounced by Republican Joseph B. Carr, who coasted to an easy victory with over 400,000 votes (compared to Howe's total of 16, 018). Undeterred by his two unsuccessful candidacies, Epenetus Howe announced his candidacy for the New York Governorship in 1882. Again the Greenback standard bearer, Howe placed a distant fourth in that year's contest, receiving only 11, 974 votes to Grover Cleveland's 535, 318
   In 1885 Epenetus Howe removed from Tompkins County to the neighboring county of Tioga County, New York, settling in the town of Candor. Perhaps sensing a change in the political winds of the time, Howe left the Greenback Party in 1888, when he campaigned for Benjamin Harrison, who went on to be elected President in November of that year. Howe's early years in Candor saw him become active in both the Speedsville and Candor Granges, serving as master of the latter lodge for several years.

From the 1894 New York Red Book.

   Howe returned to political life in the early 1890s when he was elected to the first of two terms as Candor town supervisor, and in November 1893 was elected as a Republican to the New York State Assembly from Tioga County, defeating his opponent Charles R. Swift by a "plurality of 1,184". His first term in the assembly saw him serve on the committees on Railroads, Insurance, and Internal Affairs, with the 1894 New York Red Book noting that Howe was:
"One of the most faithful watchdogs the farming class had in the legislature, and he had attached to an Erie County bill an amendment exempting Tioga County from the cost of state troops during the Lehigh Valley strike of 1894."
   In November 1894 Howe was reelected to the assembly over Democratic candidate C.S. Carr by a vote of 4,175 to 2, 276. Taking his seat in January 1895, Howe was noted by sources of the time as being a close associate of one Thomas Collier Platt, a U.S. Representative and Senator from New York who during the 1890s was viewed as the titular "political boss" of the state Republican Party. Both Howe and Platt were Tioga County residents, and their working relationship in regards to politics eventually led to a case of political double-dealing that left Epenetus Howe "the maddest man in the assembly". 
    As the New York Herald related in its January 12, 1895 edition, Howe (memorably described as having a "mustache as large as a billy-goat's whiskers") had been privy to an understanding between Platt and fellow assemblyman Hamilton Fish II that Mr. Fish was to be elected as assembly speaker. With Platt's considerable influence in state politics and assembly legislation, he instructed Epenetus Howe to vote for another potential candidate for speaker, St. Lawrence County assemblyman George R. Maltby, in order to "conceal the Platt tracks and make it appear that Mr. Platt was not for Fish." Platt had earlier informed Howe that "he would be taken care of" if he voted the way he was told, and because of this deal Howe had expected to be named as chairman of a "good committee."

Epenetus Howe, from the May 19, 1895 edition of the New York Times.

   Howe did as he was told. During the caucus for the vote for speaker he shouted his vote for Malby, who did not get the speakership, the post instead going to Fish. Instead of being rewarded for his actions, Howe was denied a place on the assembly's most important committees and was instead given "second place" on the committee on Printing and "eighth place" on the committee on Ways and Means. Understandably indignant over this slight, Howe is mentioned by the New York Herald as "telling all around the assembly chamber about how badly he felt" being ignored by the newly elected speaker (Hamilton Fish) and despite this case of double-dealing, quietly served out the remainder of his assembly term. 
   Epenetus Howe's term in the assembly concluded at the end of 1895 and several years after leaving office experienced a bout of ill health which eventually necessitated a stay at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium, from which he emerged "greatly improved in health" in March 1906. While he may have left the sanitarium in better health than when he had entered, Howe continued to be plagued by health troubles for the remaining years of his life, and on September 20, 1909 died at his home in Candor at age 73. His wife Sarah Amanda survived her husband by two years, dying in 1911, and following her death was interred alongside him at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Candor. This cemetery is also the resting place of Howe's parents, Epenetus Sr. and Emeline Cooper Howe.

A great example of 19th century facial hair.......Epenetus Howe (from the 1895 New York Red Book.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Arvello Kling (1865-1937)

From the Journal of Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of Madison County, 1915-16.

    A prominent resident of Madison County, New York in late 19th and early 20th century, Arvello Kling's placement here on the site rests on his service as Township Supervisor of Brookfield New York for four years. Mr. Kling is one of the first Township Supervisors to warrant a profile here, and some explanation may be in order as to what a township supervisor actually is! The easiest definition to give is that a  "Township Supervisor" can be considered as another term for Mayor, but with a slight twist. A supervisor of a particular township also serves as a member of a County Board of Supervisors, and in this case Arvello Kling not only served as Supervisor of Brookfield but also as a member of the Board of Supervisors of Madison County, New York.
  While Kling's status on the "political radar" is quite low when compared to some of the other folks featured here, he was for many years a well-known businessman and public official in Madison County, being a feed store owner and coal dealer in addition to his service as supervisor. While the biographical material on Kling remains difficult to come by, two obituaries for him (published in the Waterville Times and the Utica Observer) helped furnish a good majority of the following information!
   A lifelong resident of New York, Arvello Kling was born in the settlement of Paines Hollow on January 23, 1865, being the son of Charles and Mary Snyder Kling. His unusual first name "Arvello" is quite unique, and also has a number of spelling variations floating around online, including Arvillo (shown in the above picture), Arvilla, Arville, and Orvillo. Kling's education occurred in the Van Hornesville, New York school system and would later go on to attend the Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan in mid-1880s.  
  Kling entered into the feed business with his father Charles while still a young man, being based in Van Hornesville until 1884. The Klings are also recorded as operating a grist mill in the Groton Lake vicinity, and in 1884 Kling and his family resettled in the town of Brookfield, where he returned to being a dealer in feed. Arvello Kling married in Brookfield in 1901 to Ella Vesta Burchard and later had two children, Joy Elora (1902-1983) and Charles Alton (1904-1963). Charles Kling would later join his father in the feed business, being a partner in the firm of "A. Kling and Son". 
   In addition to his business interests in Brookfield Arvello Kling was active in local Democratic Party circles, being a member of the local school board in the early 1900s and from 1913-1917 served as the supervisor for the town of Brookfield. Kling was also a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge in Brookfield and had been both a founding member and past Noble Grand Master of that lodge. In June 1927 Kling experienced tragedy when his coal shed and feed mill burned to the ground, noted as being "a loss of approximately $10,000" by the Richfield, NY Mercury.
   After many years of business and political activity in Brookfield, Arvello Kling died at age 72 at a Utica Hospital on June 18, 1937, after "an illness of six weeks." Memorialized as a "good neighbor and honest citizen" by the Waterville Times, Kling was interred at the Sweet's Corner's Cemetery in Brookfield.

From the Waterville, New York Times, June 24, 1937.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Urcil Wilford Smoot (1899-1957)

From the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, October 26, 1950.

   The "Show Me State" yields another strangely named political figure in one Urcil Wilford Smoot of Daviess County, Missouri! I'll admit that I got an immediate chuckle out of Smoot's unusual first name "Urcil", which bears a slight resemblance in spelling to "Uracil", an important chemical compound that is part of Ribonucleic acid, responsible for "hereditary characteristics". While his name is certainly funny, Mr. Smoot maintained a reputation as a prominent resident in Raytown, Missouri, where he owned and operated an auto dealership. In addition to his business activities, Smoot was a three-time candidate for the Missouri State Legislature, being defeated on all three occasions.
   This lifelong resident of Missouri was born in the small town of Nelsonville on November 7, 1899, a son of Sobeska Taylor and Lillian Samuel Smoot. No information could be located on Urcil's early life in Nelsonville or the extent of his education. A veteran of the First World War, Urcil Smoot served in the U.S. Navy during that conflict, being recruited at Peoria, Illinois. From May-October 1917 he served as a Hospital Apprentice Second Class at Great Lakes Training Station, and after a short stint at the Naval Hospital in Annapolis went aboard the USS Columbia as a Pharmacist Second Class, serving on this ship from December 1917 to November 11, 1918. 
   After being discharged from service in 1919 Smoot returned stateside and married in Bexar County, Texas in 1921 to Ruth Elizabeth Williams (1900-1988), later having two children, William Taylor Smoot (1923-2007) and Elizabeth May Smoot (birth-date unavailable.) Following his marriage, Urcil Smoot was affiliated with the "Dahl and Dewitt" Chevrolet dealerships in Kansas City, and from 1928-36 owned and operated the "Smoot Chevrolet agency" in the city of Raytown. Beginning in the early 1930s he began a stint as President of the Raytown Chamber of Commerce, and after retiring from auto sales in 1936 was the owner of a farm located in the village of Lock Springs, Missouri.
   In 1942 Smoot made his first run for public office, launching a candidacy for the Missouri House of Representatives from Daviess County. Smoot's opponent in that year's election was another oddly named Daviess County resident, Urlin Eldreth Salmon (1870-1953), profiled here back in February of 2013. In a truly unique contest that pitted a man named Urlin against a man named Urcil, it was Urlin E. Salmon that claimed victory, defeating Smoot by a narrow vote margin, 2, 578 to 1, 892.

   Two years following his defeat Urcil Smoot was again the Democratic candidate for a seat in the state legislature from Daviess County, this time facing off against Republican Charles H. Bryant. He was dealt another loss on November 7th, 1944, losing to Bryant by a vote of 3, 541 to 2, 583. With two losing candidacies behind him, Smoot turned his attention to other aspects of public service in the late 1940s, serving as the Commander for the Department of Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars for a one year term in 1946. Smoot's obituary (published in the May 29, 1950 Kansas City Star) notes that while he may have been an unsuccessful aspirant for public office, he was "active in the promotion of legislation designed to benefit veterans and their dependents."
   In 1950 Urcil Smoot once again entered the political field, announcing his candidacy for the Missouri State Senate from the 16th district. As the Democratic senatorial candidate, Smoot's opponent in that year's contest was incumbent Republican W.R. "Fred" Walker, who had served in the senate since 1942. Despite having run two previous losing candidacies for the legislature, Smoot's campaign was highlighted in the October 26, 1950 edition of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune , which ran a large ad on his candidacy. This ad (shown below) touted his potential legislative agenda if he was elected, noting that:
  • He would sponsor legislation to promote "economy in government" whenever possible.
  • To build more roads in rural Missouri.
  • Improve the school system of every are in the state.
  • To stimulate progress for Missouri and all Missourians.
                                                    The Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, October 26, 1950.

   Despite a campaign promise to have his voting record guided by the welfare of "labor, veterans, farmers and the small business man"  it was W.R. Walker who emerged victorious, besting Smoot that November by a 2,099 vote margin, 19,663 to 17, 564. Following this defeat, he retired to private life in Lock Springs, and from 1952-54 was a member of the Daviess County Democratic Committee. Urcil Wilford Smoot died at age 57 on May 28, 1957 and was survived by his wife and two children. Following her death in 1988, Ruth E. Smoot was interred alongside her husband at the Jamesport Masonic Cemetery in Jamesport, Missouri.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hartland Duportal Gowey (1821-1909)

   With an impressive beard and an unusual name to match, Champaign County, Ohio resident Hartland Duportal Gowey was an active citizen in that county for over six decades, being involved in both civic and political life in the town of North Lewisburg. Gowey served as postmaster of that town for over three decades and was also elected to multiple terms as Mayor of North Lewisburg.
   A native of  Madison County, New York, Hartland Duportal Gowey was born in the small town of Nelson in that county on November 20, 1821. His parents, John and Fanny Judson Gowey, were the parents of nine children (Hartland being the second born) and looked to have enjoyed bestowing unusual names upon several of their children, these being sons Galesey, Florian and Ossian and daughters Arvilla and Lovanica. Rolland, John F. and Floretta completed the family. Hartland's education began in Allegany County, New York, where he is recorded as attending school "in a cabin in the pine woods" in that county. In 1836 the Gowey family left their native New York and resettled in Licking County, Ohio. At just sixteen years of age, Gowey began a teaching career in this county and later removed to Champaign County in 1844, continuing in the same line of work for a period of two decades.
   Gowey married in Champaign County on February 11, 1846 to Eliza Arvilla Willey (1824-1850), with whom he had two sons, John Franklin (1846-1900) and Marcus C.  John Franklin Gowey followed his father into public service, serving as an Ohio state representative and prosecuting attorney of Champaign County. He would later reside in the Washington Territory, where he would serve a term in the territorial legislature, and was also president of Olympia's First National Bank. John Gowey would later be named U.S. Consul to Yokohama, Japan, where he died in 1900. Following his wife's death in 1850 Hartland would remarry to Lydia Fowler in March 1855. He became a widower for a second time in the mid 1880s, and in 1887 married his third wife, Susan Wilson.
   Hartland D. Gowey first entered public life in Champaign County in 1853, when he was appointed as postmaster of North Lewisburg. He would serve in this capacity for thirty-three years, retiring in 1886. In the same year as his appointment, Gowey was elected to his first term as North Lewisburg mayor, serving continuously until 1858. He would later serve multiple terms as recorder of North Lewisburg (1859-1867) and as town treasurer (1868-1880). Gowey also held the offices of justice of the peace and notary public, occupying the latter post for three decades. 
   Several years after taking the reins as both Mayor and postmaster Gowey entered into publishing, establishing a small publication called The Experiment in 1860. This pamphlet would later morph into the Lewisburg Weekly Magazine in March 1861, which is recorded as lasting for a period of six months. He also maintained a lengthy connection with the Blazing Star Lodge #268 of Free and Accepted Masons, being a founding member of the lodge in 1855 and would serve as its Grand Master from 1859 to 1868. Gowey was affiliated with a number of other fraternities in Champaign County, including the Chapter Star #206 of the Royal Arch Masons and the Launcelot Lodge, Knights of Pythias of Urbana.
   In 1893 Hartland Gowey was reelected for another term as Mayor of North Lewisburg and during the final years of his life was described as being "active in astronomical and meteorological researches", being an "observer for the government weather bureau", making reports of his findings on a weekly basis. Gowey died in North Lewisburg as the result of fall on September 8, 1909 at age 88. A burial location for both he and his third wife Susan is unknown at this time.

From the Lima Morning News, September 12, 1909.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rinaldo Loveland Tilton (1839-1917)

Portrait from the Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier, April 28, 1910.

    A distinguished fraternal leader and Republican Party figure in Wapello County, Iowa, Rinaldo Loveland Tilton was born in the town of Deerfield, New Hampshire on September 17, 1839, a  son of  Jacob and Betsey Locke Tilton. Little could be found on his early life and education in the state of his birth, and in 1869 he removed from New Hampshire to Iowa, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. 
   In the years following his resettlement Tilton became active in Republican party circles in Wapello County, and in 1876 was selected as an Iowa delegate to the Republican National Convention being held in Cincinnati that nominated Rutherford Hayes for the Presidency. Tilton is listed amongst that year's delegates as "R.L. Tilden" in the 1876 Republican Convention Proceedingsand in 1880 served as a Republican Presidential Elector for Iowa, casting his ballot for his party's standard-bearer, James Garfield. 
   Following his service as a presidential elector, Tilton was appointed by then-President Benjamin Harrison to be the new postmaster at Ottumwa, Iowa and entered upon his duties in December 1889. He served in this capacity until December of 1893, when his commission expired and was succeeded in office in February 1894 by J.R. Burgess. In addition to his service as postmaster Tilton was active in a number of fraternal groups, being a member of the Ottumwa Temperance Reform Club, a past Grand Master Workman of the Ancient Order of United Workman, and was a member of the Ottumwa Lodge No, 16 of Free and Accepted Masons.
  While active in the aforementioned fraternal organizations, Rinaldo L. Tilton also served as Grand Secretary of Iowa's Grand Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows, serving this organization until his death in November 1917. On November 5, 1900, Tilton married in Ottumwa to Florence Bayliss (1875-1950), with whom he would have three children: Rinaldo Jr. (born 1901), Florence (born 1903) and Ruth (born 1909).  
  Aside from the preceding information, little else could be found on Rinaldo Loveland Tilton, excepting a death notice for him, that records his death in Des Moines, Iowa on November 2, 1917 at age 78. His wife Florence survived him by over three decades, dying in 1950, and was interred alongside him at the Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines. Curiously, a Find-A-Grave listing records a second burial location for Tilton at the Oralabor Cemetery.

From the Ottumwa Semi-Weekly Courier, November 6, 1917.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Landaff Watson Andrews (1803-1888)

Portrait from "The Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky", published 1897.

    A two-term U.S. Representative from Kentucky, Landaff Watson Andrews' unusual first name is truly unique amongst the hallowed halls of Congress, and in addition to his terms in that body served as a member of the Kentucky State House of Representatives and Senate, and would later serve a six year term as circuit court judge. Described by the "Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky" as an "erudite lawyer, a cultured scholar," and "a kind, considerate, Christian man", Andrews' cultivated a lasting stature as one of Kentucky's noted 19th-century public men.
   A lifelong resident of Flemingsburg, Kentucky, Landaff Watson Andrews was born in that town on February 12, 1803, one of ten children born to Robert and Martha Andrews. A former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1800-01, Robert Andrews was a "farmer, miller and tanner" who had resided in his birth state of Pennsylvania prior to his removal to Kentucky in 1792. Bestowing the names "Landaff Watson" upon his son, Robert Andrews' exact reasons for giving his son this unusual name may have its origins in one Robert Watson, Bishop of Landaff (1737-1816), a distinguished clergyman and Bishop of the Anglican Church who served as Bishop of Landaff (Llandaff) in Wales from 1782 until his death.
  Young Landaff spent his childhood on the "home farm", where he engaged in chores like brush burning and attended local schools during the winter months. Despite a limited education, Andrews would go on to enroll at the Transylvania University of Lexington and would graduate from that school in the class of 1824. He would study law under local judge William P. Roper following his graduation and was admitted to the Fleming County bar in 1826. Andrews married on October 24th of that year to Elizabeth Dorsey (died 1862), and the couple would later become parents to two daughters, Margaret (died 1863) and Juliet (1827-1895).
   Following his nuptials Andrews devoted his time to practicing law in Flemingsburg and made his first move into public life in 1829, when he was appointed as District Attorney for Fleming County, Kentucky, subsequently serving a decade in this post. Five years following his appointment Andrews won election to the Kentucky State Assembly, representing Flemingsburg in the lower house of the legislature from 1834-1838. In 1839 he was elected as a Whig to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and during this term (1839-41) served on the committee on Revolutionary Pensions. He won re-election to the house in 1841, defeating Democratic candidate John L. Mason by a vote of 3,621 to 2,786. During this term, Andrews was again a member of the committee on Revolutionary Pensions.
   In November 1842 Landaff Andrews ran for a third term in Congress but was dealt a narrow loss by Democratic candidate Richard French (1792-1854), 5, 481 votes to 5, 073. After the conclusion of his second term in January 1843 Watson returned to Flemingsburg and recommenced with his law practice. He returned to politics in 1857 when he was elected to a term in the Kentucky State Senate as an independent candidate, and after a four-year term here won a seat in the state House of Representatives. He resigned his House seat in 1862 to accept the position of circuit court judge for Kentucky. Andrews served on the bench until 1868, and his service was highlighted by the "Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky", stating:
"As a judge his decision was ever based upon law and practice, without prejudice or preference. Always kind an courteous to litigants and lawyers, he was a favorite with both the bar and the people."

Andrews in old age, from "Kentucky: A History of the State", 1888.

   After leaving the bench Andrews continued in the practice of law in Flemingsburg and took ill several weeks before his death, which occurred on December 23, 1888. He was later interred at the Fleming County Cemetery. During preparations for this article, I stumbled upon an interesting tidbit in regards to Andrews' death. Nearly every available resource mentioning him (including biographies on Wikipedia, Find-A-Grave, Who Was Who In America, and the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress) records his death date as being December 23, 1887, when in actuality it is December 23, 1888, that date being given in his December 26, 1888 obituary in the Maysville, Kentucky Evening Bulletin (also shown below.) The 1888 death date is also highlighted in the 1897 "Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky", where the above picture of him was located. Truly amazing what one can stumble across digging through old newspapers!

From the December 26, 1888 Maysville, Kentucky Evening Bulletin.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lampson Parker Sherman (1821-1900)

From "Beginnings: Reminisces of Early Des Moines"

     A member of the prominent Sherman family of Ohio, Lampson Parker Sherman could count among his brothers John Sherman (a U.S. Senator from Ohio, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes and U.S. Secretary of State under President McKinley) and famed military leader William Tecumseh Sherman, commanding general of the U.S. Army from 1869-1883. While his two brothers found nationwide prominence in their respective fields, Lampson P. Sherman gained a measure of notoriety in his own right, being a newspaper publisher and a founding father of Des Moines, Iowa, helping to author that city's charter in 1851. Sherman would go on to serve as the third Mayor of Des Moines and lived long enough to see the burgeoning city become Iowa's most populous, as well as its capital.
  The seventh son in a family of eleven children, Lampson P. Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio on October 13, 1821, being born two years following William Tecumseh and two years before John. Their parents, Charles Robert and Mary Hoyt Sherman , had married in Connecticut and both were residents of Ohio by 1811. Lampson P, Sherman's early life in Ohio saw him begin a long-term connection with newspaper publishing, being on the staff of the Cincinnati Gazette, where he was employed as a foreman. He married in Ohio in 1845 to Mary A. Gitchell, who died shortly after their marriage on May 1, 1848. The couple is recorded as having one son, Charles Hammond Sherman  (1846-1916).
   In the year following his wife's death, Lampson Sherman left Ohio and removed to Iowa, settling in the then infant community of "Fort Des Moines". He returned to newspaper publishing shortly after his relocation, establishing the "Fort Des Moines Weekly Gazette", mentioned as being the first Whig news publication to be published in the area. Sherman served as both its editor and publisher, and this paper later underwent changes in ownership (as well as several name changes) and continued on for many years as "The Iowa State Register". In December 1851 Sherman remarried in Des Moines to Rebecca Lawson (1830-1905), later having eight children: Stephen L'Hommedieu (1852-54), Mary Elizabeth (died in infancy in 1855), James Edward (1856-1863), John (1858-1948), Elmer Ellsworth (1861-1863), Minnie Edith (1854-1952), William T. (died in infancy in 1867) and Lampson Parker Jr. (1868-1955).
  Beginning in the early 1850s Sherman began to branch out into other aspects of Des Moines public life, helping to draft the "Fort Des Moines" city charter in 1851, and three years later was elected as the Mayor of "Fort Des Moines". In the year following his mayoralty, he served as "Fort Des Moines" city recorder and later as city treasurer, being elected to the latter office in 1858. Sherman would also hold a seat on the Des Moines City Council after it dropped the "Fort" from its name, serving here from 1869-1870.

Lampson P. Sherman, from Andreas' Historical Atlas of Iowa, 1875.

   Active in banking and finance in addition to his political activities in the city, Lampson Sherman served as the secretary of the Equitable Life Insurance Company under his younger brother Hoyt beginning in 1867. Also in 1867 Sherman was appointed to the position of U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue for Iowa's Fifth District, holding this post for twelve years. A past deputy district grand master of the International Order of Odd Fellows, Sherman also maintained a membership in the Iowa State Horticultural Society, and for a time served as the treasurer of the Board of the Iowa State Agricultural College from 1866-68.
   Lampson Parker Sherman died at age 79 on November 21, 1900, at his home in Des Moines. He had outlived his younger brother, Senator John Sherman, by exactly a month (the latter having died on October 22), and Lampson's cause of death is recorded in his Iowa State Bystander obituary as being the result of a "stroke of paralysis" he suffered a few days prior to his death. His wife Rebecca survived him by five years, and following her death in 1905 was interred alongside him in the Sherman family plot at Des Moines' Woodland Cemetery. History has also shown that Des Moines hasn't forgotten the past services of Lampson P. Sherman, as his home in Des Moines was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

From the Iowa State Bystander, November 22, 1900.