Smith's obituary from the Alexandria Gazette, July 25, 1892.
Alexandria, Virginia mayor Courtland Hawkins Smith received a brief mention in May 9th's write up on Kosciusko Kemper, a three-term mayor of Alexandria. Smith was the man who defeated Kemper in the race for mayor in 1878 and, of the several political figures I've profiled on my visit through Virginia-Washington, D.C., Smith is arguably the most obscure. No portrait of Smith could be found to post here, and the above death notice for him has proved an adequate substitute in place of a portrait.
Courtland H. Smith served as a member of the Alexandria city council prior to his election as mayor of Alexandria, that election occurring in 1878. He defeated three-term mayor Kosciusko Kemper that year and would serve one two-year term (1879-1881) and declined renomination. Smith's tenure as mayor saw him preside over Alexandria's centennial anniversary in 1880.
Following his term as mayor Smith served as assistant adjutant general of Virginia, and was on the staff of Governor Fitzhugh Lee at the dedication of the Yorktown Monument and the inauguration of President Cleveland. Smith continued to reside in Alexandria for the remainder of his life and on the day of his death accompanied his sister into Washington on a shopping excursion. While visiting the city, Smith suffered a "sudden pain", which he tried to ease with a large dose of morphine. Described as being "accustomed to the use of the drug", the dosage Smith took appears to have led to his death, as he was brought to his home in an unconscious state, and died on the evening of July 22, 1892, never having regained consciousness.
Remarked by the Alexandria Gazette as having been "genial, whole-souled and generous to a fault", Courtland Hawkins Smith was preceded in death by his wife Charlotte and both were interred at the Presbyterian Cemetery in Alexandria. On the same day as my visit to the grave of Kosciusko Kemper, I was able to seek out the Smith family plot, located a few hundred yards away from Kemper's burial location. Surrounded by a wrought iron gate, the plot is quite cramped, as several members of the family are interred in close confines to one another. And now some photos of the trip!
Portrait from the Men of Progress of Indiana, 1899.
While Courtland Hawkins Smith' notoriety was centered mainly around Alexandria, Virginia, there were several other political figures named "Courtland" who made substantial inroads into state and national politics, one of these men being four-term Indiana congressman Courtland Cushing Matson. Regarded as one of Greencastle, Indiana's favorite sons, Matson had previously served terms as county prosecuting attorney and in 1888 was the Democratic nominee for Governor of his state.
"made a gallant soldier and a most creditable record, having participated in all the important battles in the West up to Atlanta, in 1864, also took part in numerous skirmishes in Sherman's campaign."
Taking his seat at the start of the 1881-83 session, Matson's first term saw him sit on the committee on Invalid Pensions. He would win a second term in 1882 (defeating Samuel Wallingford) and during the 1883-85 session was again a member of the Invalid Pensions committee. In November 1884 Matson gained a third term (besting George W. Grubbs) and in this session chaired the Invalid Pensions committee, as well as serving on the committee on Revision of the Laws.
Matson during his congressional service.
Matson's fourth congressional win in 1886 saw him narrowly defeat Republican Ira Chase by a vote of 16,694 to 16,162. Now regarded as one of the most prominent Democrats in Hoosier politics, Matson was tendered the Democratic nomination for Governor of Indiana in April 1888. During a speech accepting the nomination at the state Democratic convention, Matson thanked his fellow party members and predicted Democratic victories not only in the state but nationally, noting that he:
"Felt an abiding and unshaken confidence that the democratic party could win in Indiana and I have believed not only in Indiana, but throughout the whole country, under the leadership of the greatest political chieftain that has been produced during this generation, that the people will set their seal of approval upon the rule of the democratic party under the administration of Grover Cleveland."
Matson for Governor, from the Indiana State Sentinel.
Running against Matson for Governor that year was Republican nominee Alvin C. Hovey (1821-1891), a former U.S. Minister to Peru and a fellow Indiana congressman. On election day 1888 it was the Republicans who triumphed, with Hovey besting Matson by just over 2,000 votes. Following his gubernatorial loss, Matson returned to the practice of law and shortly thereafter was retained as counsel for the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railway Co. In the late 1890s, Matson's son Smith Corbin joined him in practice.
The last few months of Courtland Matson's life saw him residing with his daughter Nellie in Chicago. In the months prior to his death, he spent a great deal of time hospitalized, ill-health eventually necessitating the amputation of one of his arms below the elbow. Matson's health continued to ebb and on September 4, 1915, he died at the home of his son Rees in Chicago. Matson was later returned to Greencastle for burial alongside his wife at the Forest Hill Cemetery.
Portrait from the Greencastle Herald, October 31, 1930.
Another Hoosier "Courtland" that made his name known politically is Courtland Craig Gillen, who, coincidentally enough, also hailed from the same city as Courtland Cushing Matson. A prominent attorney in Greencastle, Gillen served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives and in 1934 was elected as a state circuit court judge. A lifelong Indiana native, Gillen was born in Putnam County on July 3, 1880, being the son of Columbus and Rachel (Edwards) Gillen. He attended rural schools in the county of his birth and would graduate from the Fincastle High School. Gillen married his first wife Nellie Gough (1879-1919) in the early 1900s and later had one son, Wayne Gough (1903-1990).
Following his wife Nellie's death in 1919 he remarried to Nelle Florence Williams (1893-1979) in 1922. In 1928 Gillen began contemplating a congressional run and two years later officially announced that he'd be seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative from Indiana's 5th district. After achieving the nomination the Greencastle Herald published several campaign notices booming his candidacy, noting:
"His record of sincerity and accomplishments in his chosen line stamps him as a man well equipped to represent the people of his district. If elected to office Mr. Gillen will give his best efforts to promote legislation beneficial to the farming and laboring interests of his district."
From the Greencastle Herald, November 5, 1930.
From the Scroll of Phi Delta Theta, Volume 35.
As a major American city, Atlanta, Georgia has lucked into electing four oddly named mayors in its history (Cicero Cyril Hammock, Nedom L. Angier, and Walthall Robertson Joyner) and the fourth on that list, Courtland Simmons Winn, had previously served on the city council and as mayor of the neighboring city of Lawrenceville. Born in Lawrenceville on October 12, 1863, Courtland Simmons Winn was the son of Confederate Colonel and judge Samuel J. Winn and the former Sarah Simmons.
Following his terms as mayor Winn was elected to the Lawrenceville city council and on New Year's Eve 1885 married to Fannie Thomas (1863-1943). The couple would later have five children, Clara Mae (1886-1986), Samuel (1888-1956), Courtland Simmons Jr. (1893-1994), Dorothy (died in infancy in 1900) and Frances (1902-1993). One should note that Winn's daughter Clara lived to age 99 and his son Courtland attained his 100th birthday!
In 1888 Winn and his family removed from Lawrenceville to Atlanta and here established a law practice that would extend over five decades. Winn first entered Atlanta political life in 1902 when he was elected to the city council from Ward 2, and during his years of service on that body garnered a reputation as a "member of the progressive side that favored municipal improvement." Winn also held a seat on the Atlanta Board of Education beginning in 1904 and would continue to serve during his mayoral tenure.
Portrait from the Atlanta Georgian and News, October 29, 1910.
Entering into the mayor's office in January 1911, Winn's one term in office saw a number of city improvements, including an increase in teacher's salaries, the modernizing of the city fire department, and the construction of a city garbage incinerator. He left office in 1913 (being succeeded by the man whom he'd defeated in 1910, James Woodward) and subsequently returned to practicing law. In 1925 Winn was appointed as assistant city attorney for Atlanta and continued in that post until his death at age 76 on March 8, 1940. He was survived by his wife Fannie and was later interred in the Winn family plot at the Shadowlawn Cemetery in Lawrenceville.
Portrait from the "Life of George Dewey and Dewey Family History", 1898.
Kenosha, Wisconsin resident Courtland Atwater Dewey had fleeting involvement in state politics in 1902 when he was the Social Democratic candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly. A native of Vermont, Dewey was born on January 25, 1831, in Milton. He would attend public school and after study at the Burlington Academy worked as a janitor and clerked in a local store.
Dewey removed with his family to Wisconsin in 1849 and for several years following his settlement worked as a traveling medicine salesman for the J.M. Frost and Co. of Waukegan. In 1860 he established a home in Paris, Wisconsin and in June of that year married Delina Pease Hale (born 1833). The couple would later have one son, Courtland Ernest. Resettling in Kenosha in 1868, Dewey would establish a hardware store (the Dewey Hardware Company) which he would conduct for a number of years afterward, becoming known as "one of the leading business enterprises of the city." In addition to this enterprise Dewey also held the posts of president and treasurer of the Kenosha County Fair Association.
Referred to as a "stanch Republican" prior to his run for the state legislature, Dewey held several local offices, serving as school board clerk in Paris and was later an alderman for Kenosha's first ward. Sometime prior to 1902 he underwent a change of political faith and in the 1902 election year entered into the assembly race as the candidate of the Social Democratic party. One of three candidates running that year, Dewey polled dead last in that contest, garnering only 473 votes, compared to winning Republican candidate S. Dwight Slade's total of 1,994.
Following his assembly defeat, Dewey continued to reside in Kenosha and died on May 11, 1911, at age 80. A burial location for both he and his wife remains unknown at this time.
From the New Hampshire state manual and register, 1931.
In a November 8, 2018 update to an already lengthy article, another politically active "Courtland" has been found, this time amongst the annals of the New Hampshire state legislature. Courtland Frank Hearl Freese was for over three decades a leading name in the town of Pittsfield, becoming the owner of the Globe Manufacturing Company in 1901. Freese would later serve as president of the Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce and in 1929 was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. A term in the state Senate followed but was brought to a sudden conclusion as he died shortly after being elected.
The son of George and Mary (Young) Freese, Courtland Frank Hearl Freese was born on January 9, 1872, in Pittsfield. He attended schools local to that town and early in life began to learn the trade of harness-maker, studying under B.M. Tilton. He would eventually purchase that business and in 1901 bought the Globe Manufacturing Company, then a small business devoted to the manufacture of fire department coats. Based in Lynn, Massachusetts, Freese and his brother in law, J.D. Cleaver, moved the business to Pittsfield, locating above Freese's harness shop. The company would be the first to introduce firefighting suits (fireman's waterproof quick hitch suits) and is still in existence today, more than a century after its founding.
From the Fire and Engineering Magazine, Vol. 46, 1909.
Freese first entered the political life of his state in November 1928 when he was elected as a Republican to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. His service in the 1929-30 session was followed by his election to the state senate in November 1930, defeating Democratic candidate Charles M. Steele by a vote of 2, 975 to 2, 697. Taking his seat at the start of the 1931-33 session, he would be named to the senate committees on Liquor Laws and Revision of Laws. Freese's service proved to be short, as he died shortly after taking his seat, dying in his sleep at his Pittsfield home on March 22, 1931. He was survived by his wife Dora, who, following her death in 1937 was interred in the Freese family plot at the Floral Park Cemetery in Pittsfield.
From the Portsmouth Herald, March 24, 1931.
From Harlow's Weekly, August 28, 1937.
A standout figure in the political life of Lincoln County, Oklahoma, Courtland Matson Feuquay served as assistant county attorney for that county and at age 32 was elected to the Oklahoma state senate, being one of the youngest members to serve in that session. The son of John Wesley and Jence Cornelia (Holland) Feuquay, Courtland Matson Feuquay was born in Hackney, Kansas on April 15, 1890. Following his family's brief residencies in Krebs and Alderson, Kansas, Feuquay settled with them in the town of Chandler, Oklahoma and here attended the common schools. During his youth Feuquay gained press as an orator, being speaker of the day at "American Boy Day" during the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 and three years later was a featured speaker at the Jamestown Exposition, being then just seventeen years old.
Feuquay graduated from the Chandler high school in 1906 and continued his studies at Epworth University in Oklahoma City, graduating in 1908. He would enroll at the University of Oklahoma in 1910, where he studied law, and pursued further law studies at the University of Virginia, earning his bachelor of laws degree in 1911. From there Feuquay enrolled at Yale University, and in 1912 he graduated second in his law class.
After being admitted to both the Connecticut and Oklahoma bar, Feuquay established his practice in Chandler in 1912 and married on April 21, 1917, to Ruth Esther Foster (1893-1945). The couple were wed until Ruth's passing in 1945 and had one daughter, Ruth Ann (1925-2012). Feuquay would enter local politics for the first time in 1914 when he was elected as Chandler city attorney, serving from 1915-16. During the First World War Feuquay enlisted in the Army and served with the 14th Field Artillery, E Battalion, and at the time of his discharge had attained the rank of First Lieutenant.
From Makers of Government in Oklahoma, 1930.
After his return from service, Feuquay continued in his law practice and also organized the Arthur J. Matheny Post of the American Legion in Chandler. In 1922 he was elected as a Republican to the Oklahoma state senate and served one four year term, 1923-27, during which time he was acknowledged as a "watchdog of the treasury" specializing in taxation and constitutional law. He would chair the committee on Indian Affairs and also held seats on the committees on Drugs and Pure Food, Federal Relations, Municipal Corporations, Public Health, and Senate and Legislative Affairs.
Feuquay wasn't a candidate for renomination in 1926 and soon returned to his law practice. In 1937 he was called back to political life when he was talked of as a potential nominee for district court judge for Oklahoma's 10th district. Ultimately, Feuquay's candidacy didn't extend past May 1938, and he continued to reside in Chandler until his death at age 58 on February 18, 1949. He had been preceded in death by his wife Ruth four years previously, and both were interred at the Oak Park Cemetery in Chandler.
From Harlow's Weekly, Jan. 20, 1923.