Thursday, October 29, 2015

Olva Clayton Parker (1860-1922)

Portrait courtesy of

   Today's profile on Olva Clayton Parker (a two term mayor of Tucson, Arizona) is important as it proves that there are still new discoveries to be made when it comes to oddly named mayors of major U.S. cities. Aside from having a first name that sounds like it could be part of the human anatomy, Olva C. Parker is also on a short list of odd name political figures who were undertakers by profession--Ophir LeRoy Hering and Survellon Burr Holcombe now have some company!
   Born in Paris, Tennessee on January 28, 1860, Olva Clayton Parker was the son of Jessie and Elizabeth Parker. He would remove with his family to Anna, Illinois during his childhood and here attended school. During his late teens, Parker took work as a clerk in the "money order department" of the local post office and in 1879 left Illinois for the West. taking a stagecoach from Kansas City to Las Vegas, New Mexico, reaching his destination in April of that year. 
   After establishing his roots in New Mexico Parker worked at cattle ranching for several years and also became caught up in the Lincoln County War, a series of ongoing skirmishes between merchants and cattlemen in the New Mexico Territory. Parker is also recorded in Ward Adams' History of Arizona as having "fought against the Indians at Silver City and participated in numerous drives against Indian outlaw bands." He married in 1894 to Honorene McDonald (1876-1972) and would have three daughters: Malvene (1895-1943), Grace (1897-1980) and Edith (1909-1985). 
   Olva Parker removed from New Mexico in 1896, resettling in Phoenix. He entered into the mortuary business during his time here, and in 1898 relocated to Tucson, where he established the Parker Mortuary, a business which he continued to operate until his death in 1922. The succeeding years saw Parker's name become one of the most prominent in Tucson business circles, and in addition to his mortuary company was connected with a number of other interests in the city, including being a director of the Arizona National Bank of Tucson and the Cochise Copper Company.
  In 1916 Olva C. Parker was elected as Mayor of Tucson, officially taking office in 1917. He would serve two terms as Mayor and during his second term saw Tucson become home to the first municipally owned airport in the United States, the Tucson Municipal Flying Field, opened in November 1920.
  After leaving office in 1921 Parker took on the position of president of the Arizona Good Roads Association. In the last year of his life, he incurred a bout of blood poisoning as the result of a scratch on his foot, which weakened his health substantially. He died on August 13, 1922 at age 62, as the result of "diabetes and Bright's disease" and was survived by his wife and three daughters. Following her death at age 96 in 1972 Honorene Parker was interred alongside her husband at the Evergreen Memorial Park in Tucson

From the August 15, 1922 edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tellis Trimble Shaw (1868-1951)

Portrait from the Ohio State University Monthly, Volume VIII, 1917.

   For many years a prominent figure in the public life of Defiance, Ohio, Tellis Trimbull Shaw served that city as its solicitor and for six years held the post of Probate Judge for Defiance County. A lifelong native of the Buckeye State, Tellis T. Shaw's birth occurred in Fairfield County on January 18, 1868, being the son of John W. and Elizabeth Reese Shaw. A student in the public schools of Fairfield County, Tellis Shaw would attend the Ohio Wesleyan University and Ohio State University, being a standout baseball player at the latter school. He earned his law degree from Ohio State University in the class of 1892 and was admitted to the Ohio bar in that same year.
  On November 14, 1896 Tellis T. Shaw married to Minnie Gertrude Sutphen (1872-1929), with whom he would have two daughters, Dorothy Shaw Squire (1903-1985) and Elizabeth Alice Shaw (1914-2012). 
   Following his admittance to the Ohio bar, Shaw's name was added to the Defiance-based firm of Harris, Cameron and Shaw, which later shortened its name to Harris and Shaw in 1906. Their firm would be retained as counsel for several major clients, including the Defiance Machine Works; the State Bank of Defiance; the American Steel Packing Company; the Merchants National Bank of Defiance and the First National Bank of Defiance.
   In 1903 Tellis Shaw made his first foray into elective office when he won election as Probate Judge for Defiance County. He would be reelected as Judge in 1905 and 1907 and after leaving office in 1909 was elected as City Solicitor of Defiance. He held that post for six years and throughout the remainder of his life was affiliated with a number of business concerns in his native city, including service as Director of the Defiance Home and Savings Loan Association and the Defiance Motor Truck Company. 
   In 1929 Minnie Gertrude Sutphen, Shaw's wife of over thirty years died at the age 57. He would survive his wife by sixteen years, dying at age 83 on August 24, 1951. Both Tellis and his wife were subsequently interred in a mausoleum at the Riverside Cemetery in Defiance.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lamech Rambo (1821-1896)

Portrait from the "Levering Family: History and Genealogy". 1897.

  We continue our stay in Ohio for the following write-up on Lamech Rambo,  a Muskingum County native who, with a last name like Rambo, will immediately bring to mind that scruffy, angry Vietnam War veteran portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in the "Rambo" film series. Hailing from a county that has been well represented here on the site (Epaminondas L. Grigsby and Illion E. Moore also being Muskingum County natives), Lamech Rambo represented that county in the Ohio legislature for one term in the late 1870s. Following his time in the legislature, Rambo was elected as the Mayor of his hometown of Dresden, serving in that post until his death.
   Lamech Rambo was born in Levering, Knox County, Ohio on August 6, 1821, being the son of William and Grace Levering Rambo.  His unusual first name is of biblical origin, with Lamech being recorded in the Book of Genesis as the "son of Methuselah and the father of Noah". This Lamech is also mentioned as having lived to "seven hundred seventy and seven years", not quite the length of years reached by Methuselah, but still quite impressive!!
  Afforded limited educational advantages as a youth, Rambo first ventured into the working world at age fourteen, taking employment with a "wool carding and cloth dressing" business located in Fredericktown, Ohio. Rambo remained in that business for five years before striking out on his own, renting first a factory on the outskirts of Fredrickstown. He would marry in 1843 to Sarah Ann Walker (1822-1903), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. Their lengthy union saw the births of six children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: William Adna (died aged three in 1847); Elmira Alice (born 1845); Elmer Judson (born 1847); Miranda Flavilla (died in infancy in 1850); Viola Miranda (died aged one in 1854) and Alvy E. (born 1857).
  Following his marriage Rambo continued his rise in the wool-carding business, renting another factory in neighboring Licking County, which was destroyed by fire in January 1848As his own insurer, Rambo is remarked to have suffered the full brunt of the fire monetarily, but, being made of the sterner stuff, he persevered. He refocused his efforts on Newark, Ohio, where in June 1848 he is recorded as being the owner of a "one set woolen mill." He removed from there in 1851 to Dresden in Muskingum County, where he would build up the Dresden Woolen Mills, a business which he would be affiliated with for over forty years. 

The Dresden Woolen Mills, circa 1875.

   Rambo's stewardship of the Dresden Mills saw him become "the largest employer in the area", a title that he would hold for over thirty years. A prominent landowner in the Muskingum County area, Rambo is also mentioned as being the owner of  "526 acres of land in the Muskingum Valley, the entire tract being exceedingly fertile and valuable." 
  Prior to his election to the Ohio State Assembly Lamech Rambo had been a "Whig in politics" but later switched allegiance to the Republican Party. For six years he served Dresden as a member of the town school board and in 1875 was elected as one of Muskingum County's representatives to the Ohio State Assembly. His one term (1876-78) saw him sit on the committees on Railroads and Telegraphs and Manufactures and Commerce. His brief time in state government was favorably remembered in the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, which noted that he:
"Served one term with distinguished ability, during which time he was true to his convictions and to the interests of the section which he represented."
  Rambo continued with his business interests in Dresden after his time in the assembly and is also recorded as being the Mayor of that town, his full dates of service being unknown at the time of this writing. He died in office on July 31, 1896, a few days short of his 75th birthday. Rambo was survived by his wife Sarah, who, following her death in 1903, was interred alongside her husband at the Dresden Cemetery.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tallien Morley Clock (1857-1928)

Portrait courtesy of the "Klock Connections" Family Newsletter, February 2005.

   Erie County, Ohio native Tallien Morley Clock's public life bears a slight similarity to that of Finney Reform Loomis, who was profiled here back on October 12. Both were lifelong Ohioans and both were prominent newspaper publishers in their respective counties. Both also had fleeting involvement in politics. For nearly half a century Mr. Clock was one of Erie County, Ohio's noted newspapermen, being connected with the Erie County Reporter as its editor and publisher. In addition to success in the publishing industry Clock also made strides in the political life of his native city of Huron, Ohio, where he served as mayor for a total of fourteen years. 
   Born in Monroeville, Ohio on October 4, 1857, Tallien M. Clock was the son of David and Emma Bishop Clock, respective natives of Erie County, Ohio and Chautauqua County, New York. His unusual first name has variations in spelling, being given as "Taliem", "Talien" and "Tallien", the last spelling being featured in his biography published in 1916's two-volume "Standard History of Erie County, Ohio." 
   Clock would attend the public schools of Monroeville and in the early 1880s began to learn the printing trade, eventually removing to Chicago in 1882 to begin work as a "compositor" on the staff of the Chicago Times newspaper. He remained here for two years, returning to Erie County in 1884 to assist his father (the founder of the Erie County Reporter) in the day to day running of that paper. Tallien Clock married sometime in the early 1880s to Elsie Pierce (born 1864) and later had one daughter, Marian Grace (1883-1971).
   Following the death of his father David in 1905, Clock "assumed individual control and ownership" of the Erie County Reporter, and his lengthy stewardship of that paper saw him become "known far and wide as a fearless and able publisher. Some of his special articles were copied by metropolitan newspapers and were highly praised." 
  In addition to his newspaper work Clock served Huron, Ohio in a number of different political capacities, including stints as clerk of the town board of education and President of the village council. He also served as a delegate to various Republican county and state conventions. In 1904 he succeeded William C. Heymann as Mayor of Huron, Ohio and served six years in that office. Clock would be returned to the mayor's office after these terms, eventually serving a total of fourteen years as Huron's mayorTallien M. Clock died in Huron on November 3, 1928 at age 71. He was survived by his wife Elsie and daughter Marian and was subsequently interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Monroeville, Ohio.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Finney Reform Loomis (1841-1911)

Finney Reform Loomis, from Evert's Atlas of Medina County, Ohio, 1874.

  Ohio has yielded a few new strange name discoveries over the past few days, the most interesting of which belongs to the above-pictured gentleman.....Finney Reform Loomis! A resident of Medina County, Ohio for the majority of his life, Loomis was a veteran of the Civil War and later gained distinction as a prominent Buckeye state publisher, being the editor and owner of both the Medina Gazette and the Norwalk Chronicle. Loomis' placement on the site rests on his service as a representative from Medina County to the Ohio General Assembly, where he served for one term.
   Born at Lodi, Medina County Ohio on September 3, 1841, Finney Reform Loomis was one of eight children born to Milo (1802-1852) and Lucy Greenly Loomis (died 1852), both natives of New York. With the deaths of their parents of typhoid fever in October and November 1852 the Loomis siblings were left parentless, and despite this tragic loss young Finney pressed on, taking work as a clerk and school teacher during his youth.  He enlisted in the Union Army in June 1862 and served with the Eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Loomis would receive several promotions during his service on the battlefield and was "severely wounded" at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. He was again wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg the following year and in July 1864 was mustered out, having achieved the rank of first lieutenant.
  Finney R. Loomis married his first wife Helen Gray Slater on December 4, 1862. Less than a year after their marriage Helen Slater Loomis died and two years following her passing Loomis remarried in January 1865 to Catherine C. Killmer (1844-1913). The couple were wed for over four decades and had one son, Clare Reform (1871-1892), who died of typhoid in February 1892 at just twenty years of age.
   At the conclusion of his war service, Loomis was honored with the appointment as postmaster of his hometown of Lodi, an office in which he served until 1873. In August of that year, he received the Republican nomination for representative to the Ohio General Assembly, to which he was elected in October 1873. Loomis served one term in the legislature (1874-1876) and during that term was a member of the following committees: Blind, Deaf and Dumb and Imbecile Asylums; Claims; and Retrenchment.

Loomis during his Civil War service (picture courtesy of Find-A-Grave.)

    Loomis declined renomination in 1876 and in that same year made his first venture into the publishing field, purchasing "a half interest" in the Medina Gazette. He would serve that paper as an owner and its editor until 1879, whereafter he sold off his interest and purchased the Norwalk Chronicle, of which he was "sole proprietor and editor." 
   Remarked as being "one of the temperance advocates of Ohio", Finney R. Loomis was affiliated with a few church-related organizations in Medina and Huron County, including service as president of both the Huron County Bible Society and the Huron County Sunday School Association. Loomis was also active in veteran's organizations, being a past commander of the M.F. Wooster Post, No, 34 of the G.A.R. chapter of Norwalk, Ohio and for one year held the presidency of the Ohio Command of the Union Veterans Union.
   After many years of prominence in both Medina and Huron County, Finney Reform Loomis died on November 26, 1911 at age 70.  He was survived by his wife Catherine and was interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lodi, Ohio.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Appleton Howe Torrey (1847-1944), Appleton Park Williams (1867-1937), Appleton Bloomfield Clark (1825-1897)

Portrait from "A Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators" 1901 edition.

   Today's triple profile focuses on the political doings of three men with the unusual first name "Appleton". The first of these men, Appleton Howe Torrey, was a lifelong resident of the town of Groton, Massachusetts, and over a life that extended nearly a full century he grew to become one of that town's favorite sons, serving at various times as town clerk, assessor, overseer, selectman and state representative.
  Born in Groton on December 23, 1847, Appleton Howe Torrey was the son of Willard and Catherine Blood Torrey. He attended school in Groton and later studied at the Lawrence Academy, also located in Groton. In 1870 he entered into the position of clerk in a Boston based "wholesale boot and shoe house" and remained there until 1879. In 1873 he married to Josephine Emma Nutting (born 1848), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. The couple would later have two sons born to them, Frank Appleton (1874-1965) and Fred Howe (1877-1965).
   Appleton Torrey returned to Groton in 1879 and over the next few decades operated in that town as a "retailer in boots and shoes." He would serve Groton in a number of political capacities, including as town selectman and overseer of the poor from 1886-87 and as town clerk for over thirty years (beginning in 1893). From 1893-95 he was deputy sheriff and in November 1900 was elected as Groton's representative to the Massachusetts General Court, defeating Democratic candidate H.F. Tarbell by a vote of  824 to 469.
   During the 1901-02 session of the legislature, Torrey served as clerk of the committee on towns and as a member of the committee on Labor. After leaving the state house Torrey continued service as Groton town clerk and for over twenty years was clerk of the Groton Water Company, serving in that capacity until his death on April 26, 1944 at the age of 96. Memorialized as having had a "great love of nature" and as a "gentle, quiet gentleman", Torrey was survived by his two sons and was interred at the Groton Cemetery

Portrait from "A Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators" 1898 edition.

    Another Massachusetts state legislator with this rather "fruity" sounding name was Appleton Park Williams, a resident of West Upton in Worcester County. Williams narrowly missed serving in the legislature alongside the man who preceded him in this article (their terms being just a year or two apart.) Although a resident of Massachusetts for most of his life, Appleton Williams was a Rhode Islander by birth, being born in Providence on January 28, 1867. 
  The son of Zephaniah and Minerva Victoria Park Williams, Appleton Williams attended school in the city of his birth and would graduate from Brown University in the class of 1889. Prior to his removal to Massachusetts Williams was affiliated with the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company of Providence and in 1892 relocated to West Upton in Worcester County. He married his first wife Emelyn Palmer Butts in September 1893 but their marriage proved to be short, as she died on June 22, 1895, aged just 29. It is unknown at this time if any children were born to them.
   Once settled in West Upton, Appleton Williams took work with the Upton Manufacturing Company, and was still in their employ at the time of his election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Elected to that body in 1897, Williams garnered 1,374 votes on election day and during his term (1898-99) served on the house committee on education. In addition to serving the legislature, Williams took part in local political affairs of West Upton, serving as chairman of the school committee and as town selectman in 1901.
   Following his time at the Massachusetts capitol, Williams busied himself in various civic organizations, including service as the President of the Massachusetts Sunday School Association from 1904-05. He remarried in 1907 to Adelaide Augusta Sisson (1869-1932), with whom he had one daughter, Adelaide Victoria (born 1908.) Widowed for the second time in 1932, Appleton Williams survived his Adelaide by five years, dying on February 24, 1937. Both he and his wife were buried at the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island.

    Arguably the most obscure of the three men profiled here, Licking County, Ohio native Appleton Bloomfield Clark's placement here on the site rests on his 1880 candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio. Born in Licking County on July 11, 1825, Appleton B. Clark was the son of Anson and Elizabeth Harrison Clark. Little is known of Clark's life and no portrait of him could be found to post here. For a time he served as the editor of the  Newark American, the leading "Republican journal of Licking Countyand in 1869 served Newark, Ohio as its postmaster
  In 1880 Clark received the Republican nomination for Congressman from Ohio's 13th district. On election day he lost out to Democratic nominee Gibson Atherton, who defeated him by a vote of 19,038 to 16,565. Two years after this loss Clark was again a candidate for Congress, this time from Ohio's 16th district. He was dealt another loss on election day, as Beriah Wilkins (the Democratic candidate) polled 19,743 votes to his own 14,422.
  Little else could be located on Clark following his two unsuccessful candidacies for Congress. He died on February 24, 1897 and was later buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Granville, Ohio.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Delcour Stephen Potter (1843-1908)

Portrait from "The Men of New York", Volume II.

   Many oddly named members of the New York state assembly have been posted here over the past four years, and that already impressive list grows ever larger with the addition of Saratoga County resident Delcour Stephen Potter, an attorney and three-term assemblyman from that county. The son of Stephen and Amanda Haskins Potter, Delcour Stephen Potter was born in the small Saratoga County town of Coveville on April 19, 1843.  He removed with his family to the town of Fort Edward while still a child and studied at the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute.
  In 1862 Potter took on the post of Assistant Paymaster n the U.S. Navy, and at the close of the Civil War began the study of law in Glens Falls, New York. After being admitted to the New York bar in 1866 Potter resettled in Schuylerville where he established a law office. Also in 1866 Potter married in Schuylerville to Anna Mary McNaughton (1841-1897), with whom he had two children, Malcolm and Bessie. 
   From the mid-1860s until 1890 Potter resided and practice law in Schuylerville, during which time he earned the reputation as "one of the best known lawyers in Northern New York", and in 1878  took on the case of Jesse Billings, a Ballston Spa resident then charged with the murder of his wife.  Along with fellow attorney Charles Hughes Potter successfully defended Billings, who (after a hung jury during the first trial) was acquitted during a second trial. 
   Delcour Potter first entered state politics in 1879, when he won election to the New York State Assembly. Taking his seat at the start of the 1880 legislative session, Potter served on the committees on General Laws, Affairs of Villages and Public Education. Reelected to a second term in 1880, Potter would win his third term in the assembly in the fall of 1881, defeating Republican nominee Elihu Wing by a vote of 2,870 to 1.705. During the 1882 session, Potter continued service on the Affairs of Villages and Judiciary committees and was also named to the committee on Insurance.
   Following his third term in the legislature Potter returned to practicing law in Schuylerville, and in 1890 moved his practice to Glens Falls in neighboring Warren County. Four years after his removal Potter formed a law partnership with Joseph Kellogg, and in 1893 became affiliated with the campaign of Addison Beecher Colvin, who would be elected as New York State Treasurer. Upon Colvin's entering the office of treasurer Potter was named as Capitol Paymaster, serving in that capacity from 1894-1898. 
   Active in several fraternal groups in addition to public service, Delcour Potter was a member of the Senate lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and Elks Lodge of Glens Falls. A prominent booster for the Saratoga Battle Monument, Potter served as the treasurer of the Saratoga Battle Monument Association and is noted as having deserved " great credit for his exertions to keep intact the different sites of the Battle Grounds."
  Widowed in 1897, Delcour S. Potter died at age 65 his home in Glens Falls on August 4, 1908. He had been ill for "a long duration" and was survived by his two children. His remains were later returned to Schuylerville for burial at the Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Potter's obituary from the Lake George News, 1908.