Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trowbridge Clark Egleston (1857-1925), Trowbridge Hyer Ward (1851-1900)

Portrait courtesy of

    The state of Idaho takes center stage in the following write-up on Trowbridge Clark Egleston, a resident of both Ohio and New York who found his political and business fortunes in the American northwest. One of the first political figures from Idaho to receive a profile here on the site, Mr. Egleston served as Mayor of Caldwell, Idaho for one term beginning in the mid-1890s. 
   Born in Madison, Ohio on June 19, 1857 (or 1856, depending on the source) Trowbridge Clark Egleston was one of three children born to Russell Searle (1816-1912) and Elizabeth Trowbridge Egleston (1828-1916). A Presbyterian minister, Russell S. Egleston is recorded as having preached in both Ohio and Connecticut, and would later remove to Orleans County, New York with his family. Trowbridge attended both the Oberlin College and Cornell University, later being employed at hardware businesses in both Albion and Buffalo, New York. Egleston would leave this employ to take work as a traveling salesman for the Cambria Iron Co. of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, remaining with this company for four years. Egleston eventually left the Cambria Iron Co. and headed for Missouri, where he took similar work with the Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis.
   Trowbridge Egleston married in 1878 to fellow Ohio native Sarah B. Mann (1855-1929) and later became the father to two daughters, Florence Egleston Sebree (1879-1940) and Ethel E. After several years devoted to salesmanship Egleston and his family relocated to Caldwell, Idaho, where in 1892 he purchased a mercantile store that had been established by Frank Coffin nearly a decade previously. As head of the firm (which would later be known as the T.C. Egleston and Co., Ltd.) Egleston was noted by the Illustrated History of the State of Idaho as being a "wholesale and retail dealer in hardware, stoves, tinware, groceries, provisions and farm machinery", and occupied a store that was "forty by one hundred and twenty-five feet in dimensions."
  With his name firmly established in the Caldwell business community, Egleston entered political life in 1894 when he became a Republican candidate for Mayor of Caldwell. He would win the election and served in that capacity for one term in 1895, being noted as "having taken a considerable interest always in public affairs and looking ever to the welfare of his city and country."
   In the years following his mayoralty Egleston continued to be active in Caldwell politics and business, and in 1903 was tapped by then Governor John Tracy Morrison to succeed Rees H. Davis as State Commissioner of Immigration, Labor and Statistics. During his term in office, Egleston compiled a state "irrigation census" for Idaho, noting in May 1904 that the "state has 2,422 miles of main irrigation canals" and that "the cost of construction of these canals was $5, 446,180."
    Following his leaving the office of immigration commissioner Egleston and his wife left Idaho and relocated to Colorado, being recorded as residents of Denver in the 1910 census. They would later move to Pasadena, California, where in 1924 Trowbridge is recorded as residing at 1484 East California Street. On August 10, 1925 Trowbridge Egleston died at age 68 and was interred at the Mount Albion Cemetery in Albion, New York, the burial location of both his parents. Egleston's wife Sarah and daughter Florence would also be buried here following their deaths in 1929 and 1940.

From the San Francisco Call, June 3, 1900.

   Another "Trowbridge" that made his name known in public life was Trowbridge Hyer Ward of California. A native of Wisconsin, Ward was born in that state on September 25, 1851, a son of John Sherrill and Anna Hyer Ward. A few years after his birth the Ward family relocated to California, where Trowbridge would study law under the tutelage of his father.
  In 1869 the 18 year old Ward achieved his first taste of political life, being appointed as an Assistant U.S. Assessor for the 4th District of California.  He would serve two years in that post, resigning in 1871 to take on the position of Assistant Register of the U.S. Land Office at Susanville, California. Ward would later learn the trade of surveying, later being appointed as a Deputy U.S. Surveyor in the late 1870s. In 1880 he was tasked with surveying for the Sierra Flume and Lumber Company, superintending construction work in the counties of Butte, Plumas and Lassen.
   Ward had married in March 1873 to Willietta Edwards (1854-1930), with whom he would have six children. The family would remove to Los Angeles County in 1884 and shortly thereafter Ward would be appointed as a deputy county treasurer and secretary of the Los Angeles County Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce. Ward would be elected as Los Angeles County Clerk in 1890 and served four years in that office. 
   In 1894 he became the Republican candidate for Clerk of the California State Supreme Court, and in the November election defeated Democratic candidate Peter McGlade by a vote of 120,007 to 89,542. Ward served as clerk until 1898 and afterward returned to surveying. A prominent Masonic leader in California, Ward had served as a Grand Master for the Knights Templar in 1897 and after his death at age 49 on June 2, 1900 was memorialized in a masonic ceremony in San Francisco. He was later cremated, his ashes being inured at the San Francisco Columbarium.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Treffle George Levesque (1896-1977)

Treffle G. Levesque, from the Nashua Telegraph, May 5, 1969.

    Anyone (politically inclined or otherwise) with a first name like "Treffle" is worthy of more than just a few descriptive lines, and in the case of Treffle George Levesque ( a two-term New Hampshire state representative) several newspaper archives have yielded a fair amount of information that will make my job of writing about him slightly easier! Unlike 90% of the folks profiled here, Mr. Levesque unusual name wasn't discovered online but was instead located via the 1967-1968 edition of Who's Who In American Politics, a recent purchase from a local book sale. This work has helped field nearly thirty new oddly named persons, some of which will make their way on to the site here.
  The story of this oddly named New Hampshire native begins with his birth the city of Nashua on August 3, 1896. The son of Joseph M. and Clara April Leveseque, Treffle G. Levesque's education took place in the Nashua school system and following the completion of schooling was employed by the J.F. McElwain Co., a shoe manufacturing business noted as being "the largest employer of labor in New Hampshire." He married his first wife Marie Brodeur in Nashua and would later have four children: J. Gerard, Paul, Estelle and Elizabeth.
   Both before and after his time in state government Levesque was a member (and past Governor) of the Nashua Moose Lodge and in May 1969 was honored by that organization, receiving the Pilgrim Degree of Merit. Levesque is noted as being was "the first Nashuan to gain the honor" and in addition to Moose lodge activities was a member the Fraternal Cribbage League, becoming president of that organization in 1967.
   In November 1964 Treffle Levesque won election to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Nashua's seventh ward, garnering 1534 votes. He would be reelected in November 1966, serving until the close of the session in January 1969. Widowed in the mid-1950s, Levesque remarried first to Viola Duchesnes, who died in 1965. He remarried again in 1966 to Lena Dubray Doyle, and following her passing in 1972 he remarried to Blanche Berube (1898-1991), who would survive him upon his death, which occurred at a Nashua hospital on March 19, 1977.  A burial location for Levesque is unknown at this time but is presumed to be somewhere in the Nashua vicinity, where he had lived for all of his life.

                    Treffle Levesque (located on the extreme left), from the Nashua Telegraph, Dec. 5, 1975.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lovira Wright Leggett (1887-1961)

From the Wake Forest University's "Howler" Yearbook, 1909.

    We continue our stay in North Carolina to profile three-term state representative Lovira Wright Leggett, who, coincidentally enough, served in the same legislative session as Monday's "honoree" Veston Colbourne Banks. While he may be in possession of a rather feminine sounding first name, Mr. Leggett was a prominent son of Halifax County, being a successful lawyer in addition to his time in state government.
   Although a resident of North Carolina for a good majority of his private and professional life, Lovira Leggett wasn't born in the Tarheel State; his birth instead occurring in Louisville, Kentucky on August 26, 1887. The son of Dr. Kenelm and Augusta Wright Leggett, Lovira moved with his family to North Carolina while still a child and would attend the school at Buies Creek during his youth. Leggett also attended the Oak Ridge Institute and the Trinity School at Chicowinity between 1900 and 1905 and pursued higher education at Wake Forest University beginning in 1905. As a standout football player and secretary of his law class, Leggett's tenure at Wake Forest warranted the following passages in the 1909 Howler yearbook:
"Here is a man of many moods, quiet and composed when occasion demands, yet always in the thick of the contest when danger, or daring, or hardihood is in the game. He has always taken an interest in football and his name will ever be associated with that popular game since in its recent beginning at the college.  Being quiet and independent, but genial and good natured, he has gone in and out among us these many months, never meddling, always attending to his own affairs, with his eyes constantly fixed on terra firma. He is strongly attached to the medical department, and we may expect to hear of him as an espouser of the Emmanuel Movement and other scientific ventures."
   While Leggett may have had an early interest in medicine, he would turn his attention to the law while at Wake Forest, receiving his law degree in 1910. He established a law practice in the town of Hobgood and married in 1914 to Sarah Norman Hyman (1886-1971), later having a total of six children: Edward K. (1915-1968), Lovira Wright Jr. (1917-1977), Henry L. (1919-1983), Ralph Morrison (1921-1998), Hyman Spruill (1927-1983) and Frances (birth-date unknown.)
  In November 1924 Lovira Leggett was elected to his first term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. As a Democratic freshman legislator, Leggett officially began his term at the start of the 1925-27 session and would serve on the house committees on Claims, Corporations, Finance, Health, Insane Asylums, the Institution for the Blind, Institutions for the Deaf and Dumb, Judiciary No. 1 and Public Roads and Turnpikes. He would win reelection in 1926 and during the 1927-29 term sat on several different committees, these being the committees on the Constitutional Amendments, Education, Game, the Journal, the Oyster Industry, Printing, and Public Buildings and Grounds.
    Several years after the completion of his second term Legget was elected to a third term in the legislature, again representing Halifax County. During this session (1935-1938, including the special session of 1936) he would serve on the committees on Agriculture, Appropriations, Counties Cities and Towns, Institutions for the Blind, Penal Institutions, Propositions and Grievances' Salaries and Fees and Enrolled Bills. 
   Little else could be located on Lovira W. Leggett's life after his final term in the state house. He was noted by his Rocky Mount Evening Telegraph obituary as having served a term as Mayor of Hobgood, as well as being a member of the Halifax County Board of Education "several times." He died on October 8, 1961 at a Raleigh hospital and was survived by his wife and children. Both Leggett and his wife were interred at the Hobgood Cemetery following their deaths.

From the Rocky Mount Evening Telegraph, October 9, 1961.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Veston Colbourne Banks (1899-1973)

 From the 1924 Wake Forest University "Howler" Yearbook. 

   Joining an already lengthy list of strangely named North Carolina legislators who've been profiled here, Pamlico County educator Veston Colbourne Banks was elected to one term in his state's house of representatives in 1926. The son of Pamlico County businessman Noah Harvey Banks and his wife Deborah Alice Downs Banks, Veston C. Banks was born in the town of Grantsboro, North Carolina on March 13, 1899. He graduated from Grantsboro's Alliance High School in the class of 1917 and would later study law at Wake Forest University, being a member of the university's Masonic Club. He earned his law degree here and graduated in the senior class of 1924. Banks is also recorded as having enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1918, although it is unknown at this time if he saw armed combat during WWI. 
   Following his graduation, Veston C. Banks married on June 25, 1925 to Ms. Daisy Mason (1907-2004) and would later have one son, Myron Carroll Banks (born 1931). Prior to his legislative service Banks was a justice of the peace in Grantsboro and in November 1926 won election as that county's representative to the North Carolina General Assembly. Taking his seat at the start of the 1927-29 session, Banks would serve on the house committees on Commerce, Election Laws, Immigration, Insurance, the Journal, the Oyster Industry and the Revision of Laws during his one term in office.
  After the completion of his term Banks returned to private life and in 1928 took on the position of principal of the Cove City, North Carolina Elementary School. He would serve fourteen years as principal and in 1942 began a twenty-year stint as a supervisor for the North Carolina Department of Labor's Wage Division
   From 1962-64 Banks was employed by the U.S. Department of Labor, retiring in 1964 at age 65. He resided in Raleigh during the latter portion of his life and died at age 74 on September 27, 1973, his cause of death being given as the result of a "massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage of 24 hour duration due to ruptured esophageal varices." He was survived by his wife Daisy, who, following her death at age 97 in 2004, was interred alongside her husband at the Grantsboro Cemetery.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hibbard Houston Shedd (1847-1905)

                                                                        Portrait courtesy of BJS Genealogy.

    A former Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, Hibbard Houston Shedd first became a prominent office-holder in the Cornhusker State in the mid-1870s when he served as a delegate to that state's Constitutional Convention. He would attain further distinction as Speaker of the Nebraska House of Representatives and in 1885 began the first of two terms as Lieutenant Governor of his state.
   Born and raised in Iowa, Hibbard Houston Shedd's birth occurred in the small town of Denmark on January 27, 1847, being the son of Dr. George and Abigail Shedd.  Young Hibbard would graduate from the Denmark Academy and enlisted for service in the Civil War, joining the Forty-Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. During his service, Shedd saw action in both Tennessee and Mississippi and at war's end returned home to Iowa. He would continue to reside here until 1870, whereafter he removed to Nebraska, settling in the town of Ashland. 
   Shortly after his resettlement, Shedd began a lengthy connection in the mercantile and religious life of Ashland, becoming a church trustee, organist and Sunday School teacher. He married on February 18, 1874 to Cincinnati, Ohio native Katherine Leigh Graves (1854-1936) and would become the father to five children: Harry Graves (1875-1932), George Clifford (1877-1937), Ralph Wayne (1879-1882), Mary (died in infancy in 1883) and Edith (1884-1925). Of these children, George Clifford Shedd is the most notable, as he would become a noted writer of fiction, authoring over a dozen works between 1910 and 1937. 
   Hibbard H. Shedd first became active in Nebraska politics in 1875, when he was selected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention being held that year in Lincoln. Shedd's time at the convention was recalled by a Nebraska Historical Proceeding as having made an impact on his later service as a state legislator and Lieutenant Governor, noting that:
"Here he gained the thorough insight into the fabric of our commonwealth, himself helping to build it, and of the principles fundamental in good citizenship."
   Six years after the constitutional convention Hibbard Shedd was elected as one of Saunders County's representatives to the Nebraska General Assembly in November 1880. His term extended from 1881-1883 and in 1882 won re-election to the house, and during the 17th session of the Nebraska Legislature would serve as Speaker of the House. occupying this post from 1883-1885. In the latter year, Shedd took office as Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, serving first under Republican Governor James Dawes. He would continue serving under Dawes' successor, John Milton Thayer, with his term as Lieutenant Governor concluding in 1889.
   Two years after leaving office Shedd was elected as the president of the Ashland school board, holding his seat until 1903. For the remainder of his life, he continued involvement in different aspects of Ashland public life, and was affiliated with local businessman George Scott in the clothing firm of G. Scott and Co. Shedd died at age 58 on October 6, 1905 in Ashland and was survived by his wife Katherine. She would outlive her husband by over thirty years, and following her passing in 1936 was interred alongside Hibbard at the Ashland Cemetery.

                                             Shedd's death notice from the Omaha Daily Bee, October 7, 1905.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ilderton Wesley Bowman (1857-1924)

From the composite portrait of the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention.

   The following passages examine the life and career of a man named Ilderton...Ilderton Wesley Bowman to be precise, and very likely the only person named "Ilderton" ever to be elected to public office in the United States! This strangely named South Carolina native served as a delegate to his state's Constitutional Convention in 1895 whilst also being an incumbent South Carolina state representative. He would later achieve further prominence as a judge for the First Judicial Circuit Court of South Carolina, remaining on the bench until his death in 1924.
   The son of Dr. Orrin Nelson and Isabella (Limehouse) Bowman of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, Ilderton W. Bowman was born in that county on September 20, 1857. He would attend the Mt. Zion Institute in Winnsboro, South Carolina and in 1879 graduated from the Wofford College in Spartanburg. In November 1883 he married to Mary Ellen Crum (1861-1934), later having a total of eight children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: John Wesley (1884-1952), Orrin Nelson (1888-1932), Alma Rebecca (1888-1979), Minnie (1891-1954), Mary Ellen (1893-1974), Hammond Crum (1895-1974), Ruth (1898-1907), Reddick A. (1900-1987) and Elizabeth Hayne (1904-1971).  Of these children, Hammond Crum would follow in his father's stead, becoming an attorney, and also served as a state representative for Charleston County beginning in 1929.
   In the early 1880s, Bowman began the study of law under local lawmaker Samuel Dibble and was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1882. He established a practice in Orangeburg and over the next decade built up a clientele that included not only local banks also the Orangeburg Building and Loan Association. In November 1893 Bowman was elected to represent Orangeburg in the South Carolina House of Representatives and took his seat at the start of the 1894-96 term. During this session he was selected as a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention, and while at the convention served on the committees on Judiciary and Engrossed Bills and Ordinances. As a delegate, Bowman would author a provision to the state constitution that prohibited divorces in South Carolina and saw it successfully passed by his fellow delegates. This divorce law would remain on the books for over sixty years until being reversed by the state in 1949.
   Following his service in the legislature/convention Bowman returned to practicing law, and in 1906 was elected as a city alderman for Orangeburg, serving in that capacity from 1907-09. Active in several fraternal organizations in his native city, Bowman was a longstanding member (and past master) of the Shibboleth Lodge # 28 of Free and Accepted Masons, as well as the Woodmen of the World. In the early 1910s, Bowman was elected as Judge of the First Circuit Court of South Carolina and would hold his seat until his death on August 24, 1924, shortly before his 67th birthday. Bowman was survived by his wife Mary Ellen, who, following her death in 1931, was interred alongside her husband at Orangeburg's Sunnyside Cemetery.
  As far as history is concerned, Orangeburg, South Carolina hasn't forgotten the contributions of Ilderton W. Bowman, as his home (pictured in the accompanying link) was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 as part of the Amelia Street Historic District.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Champion Spalding Chase (1820-1898), Champion Bramwell Mann (1844-1929), Champion Israel Hutchinson (1815-1884), Champion Moore Edmunds (1907-1978)

                 From "Omaha Illustrated: A History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today."

   Anyone sporting an illustrious sounding name like "Champion" can be considered to possess a truly strange name, and in the case of today's honorees (Champion S. Chase, Champion B. Mann and Champion I. Hutchinson) their unusual first names carried them into success in the realm of public service, with all three being elected as mayors of large cities in their respective states (Chase being Mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, Mann Mayor of Olympia, Washington and Hutchinson Mayor of Sacramento, California.)
     A native of New Hampshire, Champion Spalding Chase's birth occurred in the town of Cornish on March 20, 1820, the son of Clement Chase (1776-1867) and his second wife, Plainfield, New Hampshire native Olive Spalding (1790-1823). Bestowed the unusual name "Champion Spalding" in honor of his maternal grandfather, Chase's early education took place in the town of his birth, and he would later attend the Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. During his adolescence, he taught school during the winter months in Cornish and around 1840 removed to New York to continue teaching.
   From 1841-1842 Chase taught at the Academy at Amsterdam, New York and in 1843 relocated to Otsego County to serve as vice principal of the West Hartwick Seminary. Chase continued to reside in New York through the remainder of the 1840s and would enter into the study of law in Buffalo. Admitted to the bar in 1848 at Canandaigua, he would pull up stakes and move to Racine, Wisconsin around 1849. He married in Racine in 1849 to Mary Sophronia Butterfield (1827-1882) and later had one son, Clement, who would become a prominent Omaha based newspaper publisher.
   Within a few years of his Wisconsin resettlement Champion S. Chase had branched out from his law practice into politics, serving as part of the Wisconsin delegation to the first-ever Republican Nation Convention in 1856. In November of that year he was elected to represent Racine in the State Senate, and following his two-year term here was selected as District Attorney for Wisconsin's 2nd judicial district in 1859. His term in this office ended in 1861 and in the following year received the appointment as a paymaster in the Union Army, mainly due to the influence of his famous cousin, then Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873). 
   Although he was past forty years of age, Champion Chase's time in the Union Army saw him attain the rank of Major of Calvary, and the 1894 "Genealogy of Champion Spalding Chase" notes that he "was at the sieges of Knoxville, Mobile and Vicksburg and entered the latter city upon its surrender, with General Grant's staff, July 4, 1863."  In the latter period of the war, he would be headquartered in New Orleans, and would also receive a commission as Lieutenant Colonel from President Andrew Johnson in late 1865. 
   Chase would be honorably discharged from service in January 1866 and later that year visited Omaha, Nebraska for the first time. He would resettle here permanently in 1867 and after Nebraska was admitted as the 37th state that year was elected as the new state's first Attorney General. He would serve in this capacity until 1869, whereafter he was appointed as a regent for the University of Nebraska, holding his seat until 1875. In addition to those posts, Chase was also one of the original incorporators of the Omaha Street Railway Co., which came into being in 1867.

                                                                         Portrait courtesy of

   A year prior to his leaving the Board of Regents Champion Chase was elected as Mayor of Omaha, and in 1875 was elected for another term of two years. He would be returned to the mayor's office for two further terms (1879-1881 and 1883-1884) and during his time in office was recorded as having "favored extensive public improvements", and in 1876:
"He outlined to the City Council a plan of public improvements for the city, including parks and boulevards, and a system of waterworks, of both direct and gravitation power, all of which, with the necessary permanent street improvements, have been carried out or are in course of construction."
    While civic improvements to Omaha were of concern during Chase's administration(s), there were other matters that would later cast a slight tinge on his mayoralty. During the wild and woolly days of 1870s Omaha, "cheap theaters", saloons and gambling were rampant, and those engaging in such businesses were for the most part given a free pass by Mayor Chase, who was memorably described in Edward Morearty's "Omaha Memories" as a "genial whole souled man, but very pompous and determined in having his own way." 
    During his final term in office in 1884 impeachment proceedings were leveled against Chase, and on June 30, 1884 he was removed from office by a vote of the city council due to allegations of "drunkenness, incompetence by reasons of drunkenness, derangement of the nervous system and neglect of duty." Despite being put out of office in such an abrupt fashion, Chase gained some measure of closure in 1887 when he launched "quo warrento proceedings" in the Omaha district court, alleging that he had been illegally removed from office, as well as having been deprived of his mayor's salary. A jury would later render a verdict in his favor, with the salary involved being recorded as "nearly one thousand dollars."
   Following his ouster, Champion Chase continued to serve Omaha in a number of other capacities, including being a past commander of the U.S. Grant Post of the G.A.R., an organizer of the Omaha Real Estate Owner's Association and president of the Nebraska State Humane Society. In the mid-1890s he gained further distinction when he was selected as the chairman of the International Pan-Republic Congress on Plan and Scope. In one of his last acts of public service Chase was appointed as Collector of Customs for the Port of Omaha and died in office on November 3, 1898 at age 78. He had been widowed in 1882 and following his death was interred alongside his wife Mary at the Prospect Hills Cemetery in Omaha.

Champion S. Chase in old age, from "The Spirit of '76", Vol. 5, 1898-1899.

 Champion Bramwell Mann, from the Druggist's Circular, Vol. 51, 1907.

    An Olympia, Washington based druggist and merchant for over four decades, Champion Bramwell Mann was a native son of Pennsylvania, being born in Crawford County on November 2, 1844, the son of Methodist minister Sylvester Hill and Anne Whipple Mann.  The Mann family would leave Pennsylvania and relocate to Salem, Oregon in 1864, where Champion would attend Willamette University. He would graduate from the Portland Business College in the late 1860s and in 1870 moved to Olympia, where he would reside for the remainder of his life.
   In March 1870 Mann saw his father sworn in as Oregon Territorial Librarian, but his term in office would prove to be short-lived. In August of that year the Rev. Mann was called to religious work in an another area and had to resign, and shortly after this his twenty-five year old son was appointed to succeed him. Champion B. Mann's tenure as territorial librarian lasted for four months, as he left office in November of 1870, whereafter he taught school in Olympia for several years.
   During the early 1870s Mann became a partner in the druggist firm of Mann and Willard with local physician Rufus Willard. In 1873 he would buy out Mr. Willard and continue in business alone. He would remain in operation for nearly four decades, and was even bestowed the title "dean of Washington druggists" in the 1907 "Druggist's Circular." On December 16, 1873 Mann married in Olympia to Evangeline St. Clare Brewer (1855-1934), with whom he would have six children: Avis Sparks (1875-1948), Helen Whipple (born 1878), Ida Scott (1880-1902), Claude Brewer (1882-1929), Anna Viola (born 1884) and Gladys Margaret (born 1891.)
   While still active as a druggist Mann began seeking local political office in Olympia in the latter period of the 19th century. He would serve as Thurston County treasurer for a period of eight years and later was Olympia city treasurer for two years. In 1893 he was elected as Mayor of Olympia and served one term, 1894-95. Following his brief stint as mayor Mann returned to his business and in 1909 turned his attention from pharmaceuticals to the"seed and paint trade". Mann would return to political life in 1909 when became chairman of the Thurston County Board of Commissioners, serving here until 1911. 
   Champion B. Mann died shortly before his 85th birthday on October 19, 1929, and, in a strange twist, his son Claude Brewer died on the very same day at age 47 in Montana. Both Mann and his son were interred at the Odd Fellows Memorial Park and Mausoleum.

A death notice for Hutchinson from "The Chronicle" Volume 34, 1884.

   Arguably the most obscure of the three men profiled today, Champion Israel Hutchinson served as Mayor of California's capitol city for one term  beginning in 1851. Despite his prominence in California business and politics in the mid 19th century he is little remembered today, and, coupled with the minuscule amount of information available on his life,  Mr. Hutchinson is also a "faceless" politician, with no photographs of him being available to post at this time.
   Born in Gilead, Connecticut on December 9, 1815, Champion Israel Hutchinson (name often abbreviated as "C.I. Hutchinson) was the son of Israel and Mary Warner Hutchinson. Little is known of his early life or education, although it is recorded that he resided in a number of different states prior to his removal to California, including Maine, Georgia and Wisconsin. During his time in the latter state Hutchinson is known to have engaged in merchandising in the village of Southport, and was noted by his Sacramento Daily Union obituary as having built "the first pier extending out into Michigan." 
   Hutchinson married in 1844 to Catherine Hatch, later having five children. In 1848 he entered into politics for the first time, serving as part of the Wisconsin delegation to the Democratic National Convention which nominated Zachary Taylor for the Presidency. He would also serve as a U.S. Marshal for Wisconsin, and in 1850 he began a long journey to California, joining a party which left Council Bluffs, Iowa for Sacramento. Their trek was accomplished in 117 days, and once at his destination was confronted by a cholera epidemic then sweeping the city. Hutchinson would soon begin to establish his name in his new locale, being the proprietor of the general store/mercantile firm Hutchinson, Green and Co. The cholera epidemic would claim the life of his business partner (a Capt. Green) and following his death became "active in promoting water works" in the city, and was eventually elected to the Sacramento city council.
   In the year following his election as a councilman Hutchinson was elected as Sacramento's mayor, being the sixth man to occupy the post. Shortly after his election a large fire swept through the city, claiming numerous lives as well as destroying a good portion of the city's business district. The Sacramento Daily Union notes that Hutchinson's home was spared by the fire, and "he at once kept open house herein for all in distress." 
   Hutchinson left office in 1853 and in that year took ownership of a large farm/ranch located in Yolo County. In 1863 he relocated to San Francisco, where he would continue to be active in business concerns for several more years, being a partner in the insurance firm of Hutchinson and MannChampion I. Hutchinson died  on September 22, 1884 at age 78 and was later buried at Colma, California's Woodlawn Memorial Park. He was subsequently memorialized in the Sacremento Daily Union as:
"Having died with his harness on. A man with many friends, few enemies and a fame free from scandal or misdeed. His example is a legacy to the commonwealth."

Portrait from the 1954-55 South Carolina Legislative Manual.

    Nearly two and half years after this article was originally published another public official named "Champion" has been located, Champion Moore Edmunds of Sumter County, South Carolina. Born on July 29, 1907 at Sumter, South Carolina, Champion M. Edmunds was the son of Dr. Samuel and Ella Davis Edmunds.
  A graduate of the University of South Carolina in the class of 1932, Edmunds earned his bachelor of laws degree in that year and in June 1937 married to Elizabeth Walker (1913-2005), with whom he would have several children. A lawyer for over forty years, Edmunds served Sumter as its city attorney and was a longstanding member of both the Sumter County and South Carolina Bar Associations.
  In 1952 Champion M. Edmunds was elected to represent Sumter County in the South Carolina legislature. He would serve one term in that body (1953-55) and during his term sat on the house committee on the Judiciary.  Edmunds died on March 23, 1978 in Sumter and was later interred at the Sumter Cemetery.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Peregrine Lethbury Wickes (1837-1923), Peregrine Foster Wells (1847-1930)

                                                    Portrait courtesy of the Archives of Maryland website.

    A distinguished member of both the Pennsylvania and Maryland bar, Peregrine Lethbury Wickes served as a district court judge in Pennsylvania and in the latter period of his life was elected to the Baltimore City Supreme Bench, serving here until his retirement. Born on August 13, 1837 in Chestertown, Maryland, Peregrine L. "Pere" Wickes was one of seven children born to Joseph Wickes IV (1788-1864) and his wife, the former Elizabeth Caroline Chambers (1799-1872). Wickes' higher education took place at the Washington College in Chestertown and he would later attend Princeton University, earning both his Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts degree from this institution.
   From 1858 to 1859 Wickes studied law with prominent Baltimore attorney Severn Teackle Wallis (1816-1894), who would later serve in the Maryland House of Delegates. Wickes was admitted to the state bar in 1859 and shortly thereafter established a law practice in Chestertown. He married in February 1862 to York County, Pennsylvania native Henrietta Catherine Welsh (born 1841) and the couple would become parents to eight children, listed as follows in order of birth: Joseph Lee (born 1862), Benjamin Chambers (born ca. 1863), Henry Welsh, Katherine, Peregrine Lethbury (died in infancy in 1868), Peregrine Lethbury Jr. (1873-1948), Henrietta Elizabeth and Dr. Walter Forman (1877-1960). 
    After several years of practice in his hometown, Wickes removed to his wife's home county of York, Pennsylvania in 1866. He began a new law practice here and later served as an attorney for the Northern Central and Pennsylvania Railroad. He continued to enjoy a successful career as an attorney for the next several years, and in 1875 was elected as an additional law Judge for Pennsylvania's 19th Judicial district. Wickes' time as an additional law judge ended in 1882, when he received the appointment as president judge of the 19th judicial district, holding his seat until his resignation in 1886. 
   Following his resignation, Wickes removed back to Baltimore with his family and soon recommenced with the practice of law. In 1890 he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City and in the following year was elected to a term of his own. He would continue to serve on the court until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1907 and resigned that year.
   After retiring from legal practice Wickes remained active in several fraternal clubs, including the Maryland Club of Baltimore and the Casino and Yacht Clubs of Jamestown, Rhode Island. Peregrine L. Wickes died at age 86 on October 27, 1923 of heart failure at his Baltimore home. A burial location for Wickes is unknown at this time and is presumed to be somewhere in Baltimore, where he had resided for the last three decades of his life. The spelling of Wickes' middle name is also under scrutiny, being given by various sources as "Lethbury", "Lithbury", Lethrbury and Leatherbury.

Peregrine L. Wickes, from "The Book of Maryland" 1920.

Pere L. Wickes' obituary from the Chestertown Transcript, November 3, 1923.

From the 1917 West Virginia State Blue Book.

   Born several years after Peregrine L. Wickes, West Virginia native Peregrine Foster Wells was another man with this odd first name who found distinction in public life. A one term member of the West Virginia State House of Representatives, Wells was born in Belleville, Virginia on August 21, 1847, being one of several children born to Caleb (1798-1860) and Elizabeth Prather Wells (1812-1893). His education occurred in the "common schools" and would go on to attend the National Normal School in Lebanon, Ohio.
  Prior to serving in the legislature Wells occupied the offices of constable, justice of the peace and county surveyor in Wood County, West Virginia. A farmer by occupation, Wells was elected to the House of Representatives in November 1916, receiving 4,376 votes. During the 1917-19 session he would serve on the committees on Immigration, Agriculture, Humane Institutions and Federal Relations. He returned to private life after the completion of his term and died on June 8, 1930 at age 82.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Starr Wenzel Gruner (1878-1951)

From the Coldwater Pictorial City Directory, 1927.

   A two term Mayor of Coldwater, Michigan, Starr Wenzel Gruner is also one of the first veterans of the Spanish-American War to warrant a profile here on the site, as he saw action in Cuba in July of 1898. After relocating to California in the mid-1920s Gruner continued to be active in various aspects of public life, being the operator of a clothing store as well as a member of the Santa Barbara City Council.
    The son of German immigrants, Starr Wenzel Gruner was born in Coldwater on August 30, 1878, being one of seven children born to Wenzel and Emily Randall Gruner. Young Starr is noted as having grown up on a farm in Coldwater and would attend the local high school between 1891-1896 and earned his high school diploma. Following his graduation he took an extended visit to Germany, remaining here for about a year. With the dawn of the Spanish American War in 1898 Gruner did his patriotic duty and signed on for service in the Thirty-Third Michigan Infantry. He was deployed to Cuba and participated in the Battle of Acquadores and Battle of Santiago.
   After being mustered out of service at Owosso, Michigan, Gruner returned to his home in Coldwater and on June 1, 1899 married there to Ms. Lena Teachout, with the couple being childless through the entirety of their marriage. For a good majority of his life, Starr Gruner worked at farming in Coldwater, being the proprietor of an eighty-acre farm on land which had been "cleared by his father."Gruner was also a partner in the Coldwater based haberdashery of Sloman and Gruner beginning in 1912. In addition to business and farming Gruner was a Captain General in the Jacob's Commandery, No. 10 of the Knights Templar.
   In April 1918 Starr W. Gruner won election as the Mayor of Coldwater, defeating Democratic nominee Rev. S.W.L. Scott. He would be returned to the Mayor's office in the election of 1920 and served until the expiration of his term in 1921. A few years later he left the clothier business and removed to Santa Barbara, California in 1925, the basis for his removal being the result of a "messy divorce".
   Once settled, Gruner began to establish his name in the Santa Barbara business community. He would start up another clothing business in this city and also took an active role in the local American Legion chapter, serving as post treasurer. He would also make a return to politics in 1927, being elected as a member of the Santa Barbara City Council. Gruner was also noted as a keen genealogist, even going as far as to trace his family lineage back over four hundred years. 
  Starr Gruner died of a stroke at the Los Angeles Veteran's Hospital on August 17, 1951, two weeks short of his 73rd birthday. He had been preceded in death by his second wife Miriam in April 1935 and both were interred at the Santa Barbara Cemetery. In an interesting twist, this cemetery also happens to be the resting place of former Santa Barbara mayor Clio Lowell Lloyd, who was profiled here back on March 4th of this year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Moyne LeClerque Kelly (1901-1988)

Portrait courtesy of the Texas Legislative Reference Library.

   Hailing from the county of Dickens in Texas, Moyne LeClerque Kelly served two sessions in the Texas State Legislature, being elected as a representative from Dickens County. Both prior to and after his time in state government Kelly earned distinction as a principal and superintendent of schools in both Arkansas and Texas, retiring from his duties in June of 1970.
   Born in Norwood, Pulaski County, Missouri on October 29, 1901, Moyne LeClerque Kelly was the son of John Hazard and Rhoda Garetta Cline Kelly. A graduate of the Corsicana, Texas High School in the class of 1919, Kelly was employed as an oil field worker by the Gulf Production Co. and married his high school sweetheart Helen Marguerite Jones (1902-1991) in December 1919. The couple would later have two daughters, Helen Juanita (born 1925) and Betty Lou (born 1934). During the early 1920s both Kelly and his wife would be employed by the Methodist Home at Waco, Texas. The couple would remain here for twelve years, with Moyne serving as the manager of the Home's dairy farm and broom factory, as well as being the principal of the Home's Grammar School.
   In 1932 Kelly and his family removed from Waco to Arkansas, where he would teach at a "rural school" in the town of Lonsdale. The Kelly's would remove back to Texas in 1933, and after settling in Crosby County Moyne returned to education, serving as the principal of the Leatherwood School from 1934-36. He and his family would move once again in 1936, this time to Lubbock County, Texas. Here Moyne would assume the superintendency of the Roosevelt Consolidated School, and after a two-year term (1935-38), resettled in Afton, Texas, where in 1941 he would take on the position of superintendent of the Patton Springs School.

              Moyne Kelly as principle of the Leatherwood School, from the History of Crosby County, 1876-1977. 

    In 1944 Moyne L. Kelly was named as Superintendent of the State Home at Corsicana, Texas, serving in this capacity until 1949. Two years later he was selected to be the Executive Director of the Texas Board of Hospitals and Special Schools, and after two years in this office relocated to the city Kerrville to accept the position of superintendent of schools. He and his family returned to Afton, Texas in 1952 and for the next two years would teach school at Patton Springs. In January 1955 Kelly became a candidate in a special election for the Texas State House of Representatives to succeed David Ratliff, who had resigned a few weeks previously, and after winning the election was sworn in on January 8.
  During his first term in the legislature (1955-1957) Kelly held a seat on the committees on Congressional and Legislative Districts, Constitutional Amendments, Municipal and Private Corporations and State Hospitals and Special Schools. He was a successful candidate for reelection in November 1956, and an election notice for him (shown below) appeared a few months prior to his victory. In this notice, Kelly intoned that: 
"The matter of passing laws or instituting legislation takes on many forms, if all the people are represented. Laws are passed to protect, to improve, to establish, to prevent; to remove; to alleviate, to inaugurate, to restrain and to help the greatest number of people in the Big State of Texas. If a legislator keeps these things in mind during his deliberations, he cannot be far from right when action is taken on legislative matter."
A Kelly reelection notice from the Aspermont Star, July 26, 1956.

    At the start of his second term in January 1957 Kelly was named to the committees on Agriculture, Judicial Districts, Livestock-Stock Raising, and Penitentiaries. He also continued service on the State Hospitals and Special Schools committee during the 1957-59 term, serving as its chairman.
   Following his time in state government Kelly returned to teaching and in 1968 was once again named as Superintendent of Schools for Patton Springs. He retired from that office in 1970 and died on April 11, 1988 at El Campo, Texas. The 86-year-old retired legislator and teacher was survived by his wife Helen and both his daughters. Following her death at age 89 in 1991 Helen Jones Kelly was interred alongside her husband at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in El Campo. 
  In an aside note, there seems to be some confusion as to the selling of Moyne L. Kelly's middle name, with sources giving its spelling as both LeClerque and Lexlerque. The name is further complicated by Kelly's gravestone in El Campo, which records it as Lee. As the International Genealogical Index gives the name as "LeClerque", it is that spelling that is given in the title to his profile here.