Friday, June 30, 2017

Swepson Taylor Clayton (1855-1904)

Portrait from the Official and Statistical Register of Mississippi, 1904.

  Following our write-up on Quitman County, Mississippi attorney Partee Lovelace Denton we journey to the neighboring county of Tate to examine the life of two-term state representative Swepson Taylor Clayton, for many years a teacher in that county. The son of Joshua Swepson and Nancy Irene (Turner) Clayton, Swepson T. Clayton was born in Mississippi on March 13, 1855. 
  A student in schools local to the Desoto County, Mississippi area, Clayton married in March 1876 to Emma Julia Tulley (1858-1937), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have eight children: Lillie (1879-1967), Brigham Shands (1881-1899), James Norman (1885-1966), Belle (1888-1975), Winnie (1893-1971), Ira Earl (1895-1902),  Swepson Taylor Jr. (1901-1957) and Dorah George.
  For over two decades, Swepson T. Clayton was a teacher in various Mississippi schools and in 1875 made his first move into politics, serving as the chairman of the Tate County Democratic committee. In 1899 he was elected to his first term in the Mississippi House of Representatives and during the 1900-04 session served on the committees on Enrolled Bills, Propositions and Grievances, the Penitentiary, Public Lands, and Roads Ferries and Bridges.
  Swepson T. Clayton won his second term in the legislature in November 1903 and served until his resignation due to ill health on January 30, 1904. Just one week following his resignation Clayton died on February 6, being just 48 years old. He was survived by his wife Emma and both were interred at the Singleton Springs Cemetery in Strayhorn, Mississippi.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Partee Lovelace Denton (1900-1976)

Portrait from the 1925 Ole Miss yearbook.

   Today marks a return to Mississippi with a brief write-up on longtime Quitman County lawyer Partee Lovelace Denton, so far the only political figure named "Partee" that I've managed to locate. A lifelong Mississippi resident, Denton served two terms as County Attorney of Quitman County and was the nephew of another oddly named Quitman County political figure, Manford Esca Denton (1872-1935), a former state representative and county judge.
  Born in Belen, Mississippi on August 6, 1900, Partee Lovelace Denton was the son of Ira Claude and Birdie Bobo Denton. Denton's early education took place at the Castle Heights Military Academy in Tennessee and later at Vanderbilt University. He earned his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Mississippi in the class of 1925 and his time at that institution was remarked as:
 "A good student, a steady worker, and a winning personality, he should some day grace the bench and add another to our distinguished roll."
   Shortly after his graduation Denton began a brief connection with the Union and Planters Bank in Memphis, Tennessee. After several months in their employ, Denton returned to Mississippi and established a law firm in the town of Marks with his uncle Manford, a practice that would continue until 1928. Partee L. Denton married at an unknown date to Louise Ward (1908-2001), to whom he was wed until his death in 1976. The couple is believed to have remained childless.
   In 1928 Partee L. Denton was elected as Quitman County attorney, being defeated for reelection in November 1931 by Richard M. Boone. Denton was returned to the county attorney's office in 1934, being reappointed to that post in the wake of the death of Arthur A. Pogue, serving until 1938. Following this second term, little could be found on Denton's life except notice of his continuing practice and his being an alternate delegate from Mississippi to the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where Harry Truman was nominated for the Presidency. Partee L. Denton's death occurred in March 1976. He was survived by his wife Louise and was interred at the Belen Cemetery in Belen, Mississippi

Portrait from the 1924 Ole Miss yearbook.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Almerion Page Stockwell (1864-1942)

Portrait from the 1899 Washington legislative composite.

   One term Washington state representative and Mayor of Aberdeen Almerion Page Stockwell is another recent name discovery, as his name was located just yesterday via the 1899 edition of the Legislative Manual and Political Directory of Washington. A native of Michigan, Stockwell was born in Medina, Lenawee County on May 6, 1863/1864,  a son of Levi and Helen A. Stockwell. Listed by most sources under the initials "A.P. ", Stockwell's education occurred in the state of his birth and at age twenty-one left Lenawee County to begin work as a bookkeeper for lumber firms. This work would see him take up residence in Montague, Michigan and Wisconsin, and in 1890 he moved to Washington, settling in the then-burgeoning city of Aberdeen.
   Following his relocation, Stockwell married in 1896 to Carrie A. Jones (1875-1930), to whom he was wed until her death. The couple would have two sons, Richard P. and Malcolm Fuller. Within a few years of his establishing roots in Aberdeen Stockwell had firmly implanted his name in the city's business sector, being a founder of the C.E. Burrows Co. in 1897. As a partner and general manager of that business, Stockwell saw it become a leading firm in the steamboat and transport lines on Grays Harbor and the Chehalis River. The company continued to expand through the establishment of logging sites and lumber mills and following company namesake C.E. Burrows' death in 1907 Stockwell succeeded to its presidency.
   Stockwell's business savvy saw him become affiliated with a number of other business concerns in the Grays Harbor County area, including being secretary-treasurer of the Aberdeen Timber Company and president of the Grays Harbor Boom Company, which he had helped purchase in 1897. While still connected to the C.E. Burrows Co. Stockwell saw that firm take over operations of the Bryden and Leitch Lumber Co. in 1907, and in that year took office as its president (serving in that capacity until 1910.)
   In 1898 Almerion P. Stockwell made his first move into the political life of Washington, being elected as a Republican to the state house of representatives from Chehalis County. Serving during the 1899-1900 session, Stockwell was named to the committees on Claims and Auditing, Federal Relations and Immigration, Fisheries, Miscellaneous, and Tide Lands. During his time in the legislature, Stockwell would pull political "double duty" due to his election as Mayor of Aberdeen in 1900, holding that post for one term. Other than the mention of his election as mayor, little information could be located on Stockwell's time in office.
   Following his brief time in politics, Stockwell resumed his extensive business interests and became connected to the Humptulips Driving Company, a logging firm on the Humptulips River. Taking the reins of secretary and treasurer of this business, Stockwell remained with this business after it had incorporated as the Humptulips Logging Company, being the manager of its offices at Aberdeen and its logging areas in Grays Harbor. Stockwell later added the title of "dairy king" to his resume in the 1900s, being the owner of Meadowbrook Dairy. Specializing in Ayrshire cattle, Stockwell would proclaim that he was "a dairyman for glory, a lumberman for recreation, and a logger for profit."
   Widowed in 1930, Almerion P. Stockwell continued to reside in Aberdeen until his death on April 25, 1942. He was interred alongside his wife at the Fern Hill Cemetery in that city

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cogswell Kidder Green (1809-1889)

Portrait from Norwich University, 1819-1911: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor.

   Prominent in the early history of Berrien County, Michigan, Cogswell Kidder Green was a transplant to that state from New England, and following his Michigan resettlement became a leading political figure in the still-young county of Berrien, serving as its first Judge of Probate. Green later represented Berrien in the Michigan House of Representatives and was also Village President of Niles, Michigan, several years prior to it becoming a city. In the late 1860s, he relocated to Exeter, New Hampshire, where he resided until his death.
   The life of this now-forgotten Michigan political figure began (depending on the source) in either Putney, Vermont or Westmoreland, New Hampshire on July 29, 1809, being the son of Capt. Thomas Kidder and Betsey (Cogswell) Green. Bestowed the unusual name Cogswell Kidder upon his birth, Green's first name has a variation in spelling, being spelled with both a double "g" and without. Green attended school at the Chesterfield Academy in New Hampshire in the early 1820s and later studied at Norwich University.
  Seeing a bright future for himself in law, Green traveled to Steubenville, Ohio in 1828 and here began reading law with John Crafts Wright (1783-1861), who'd later serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and on the Ohio Supreme Court. Green was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1830 and in that same year relocated to Berrien County, Michigan, which had been established the year prior. Settling in the village of Niles, Green began his law practice here and in 1831 was appointed as Berrien County's first judge of probate, an office he'd continue to hold until 1833. In the year following his becoming judge Green began a five-year tenure as Niles town clerk (being the first man to hold that post) and from 1835-1836 was Postmaster of Niles
   Cogswell Kidder Green married on May 28, 1835, to Nancy Aurora Howard (1818-1843). The couple would have three daughters (Katherine, Emily, and Nancy), and following Nancy's death, he remarried in New Hampshire in 1854 to Sarah Clough Lawrence (1828-1894), who survived him upon his death in 1889.
  Green continued his climb up the state political ladder in 1835 when he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives. His tenure as Berrien County's first representative to the state legislature is notable due to the fact that the 1835-36 term (begun in November 1835) marked not only the first time the legislature had convened after the adoption of the state constitution of 1835 but also was the first session to be titled "state legislature", not territorial. This session was also held at Michigan's then capital, Detroit, which would later be moved to Lansing in 1847. Green's term in the house saw him sit on the committees on the Judiciary, Education, Enrollment, and Unfinished Business. 
   Following his brief time in the legislature, Green returned to practicing law in Niles and in 1844 served as its village president. Notice is also given as to Green serving as Deputy Collector of the Port of San Francisco from 1851-53, but other than a brief mention in the history of Norwich University, 1819-1911, no other information could be located on Green's venture in California. 
   Cogswell Green left Michigan in 1854 and after his remarriage to Sarah Lawrence in New Hampshire that year resided in Washington, D.C. until 1869.  Despite residing in the nation's capital for nearly fifteen years, no other mention is given as to Green's time there. For the remainder of his life, Green resided in Exeter, New Hampshire, and in 1886 was invited to attend a fiftieth reunion of the first legislature of Michigan but was unable to travel due to the distance. Green died in Exeter on December 3, 1889, at age 80. Both he and his wife Sarah were later interred at the Exeter Cemetery in that city. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bismark Adair Steinhagen (1878-1946)

Portrait from the Bullseye, 1917.

   A former mayor of Beaumont, Texas, Bismark Adair Steinhagen was recognized as one of Jefferson County's established businessmen prior to his election, being both the secretary-manager of the Tyrell Rice Milling Co. and a primary figure in the movement to have a new city charter voted on for Beaumont. A lifelong Texas resident, Bismark Adair "Steinie" Steinhagen was born in the town of Navasota on August 19, 1878, the son of Henry Carl and Anna (Sobbe) Steinhagen.
   While little is known of Steinhagen's early life in Navasota, he moved to Beaumont in 1901 and for a time was affiliated with the Wilson Hardware Company in that city. Steinhagen would marry in Oklahoma on December 27, 1906, to Erilla Elinor Weeks (1878-1945). The couple were wed until Erilla died in 1945 and had two children, Dale S. (1914-1916) and Robin Adair (1916-1999). 
    B.A. Steinhagen made his first foray into the rice industry when he joined the McFadden Rice Mill in the early 1900s. He continued with that company for several years and in 1912 was engaged as a speaker at a meeting of the Texas Welfare Commission on the use of rice by-products (rice bran and rice straw), as livestock feed and for papermaking. In 1915 Steinhagen, W.C. Tyrell, and several other partners organized the Tyrell Rice Milling Co., of which Steinhagen would serve as secretary-manager. Following the construction of a plant with a "1,200 barrel capacity", Steinhagen's name grew to even more prominence in the milling and rice industry, as he served as the vice-president of the Associated Rice Millers of America in 1921, 1922 and 1923. Upon his election as mayor of Beaumont, his business acumen received glowing praise in Volume 23 of the Rice Journal, which relates that
"It can truthfully be said that Steinhagen has taken an active part in every big undertaking that has been for the betterment of Beaumont, and at the same time has made a success of his own business and been an active leader in progressive movements to place the rice industry on a higher plane. He is a rice man, but a businessman with it, and has always held a place on the important committees of the Rice Millers Association because he was known not only as a man with ideas but a man who would get out and work and carry them out."
From the Rice Journal, Volume 23.

   While a leading figure in the rice milling industry in Beaumont, B.A. Steinhagen also held the post of president of the Greater Beaumont Association in the late 1910s, and in that capacity was a primary mover in seeing the adoption of a new city charter, one that would see Beaumont "governed by fifteen councilmen and a mayor and managed by a city manager." This association (along with a number of progressive Beaumont businessmen) would later back Steinhagen when he announced his candidacy for Mayor in February 1920
   Steinhagen's opponent that year was incumbent mayor Ernest John "E.J." Diffenbacher, who had been elected in 1918. On election day (February 23rd, 1920) it was Steinhagen who triumphed, besting Diffenbacher by a vote of 3,394 to 2,932.  Following his election, Steinhagen promised a "business administration free from petty politics and prejudices" and also laid plans for the erection of a municipal auditorium and public library, at the cost of $250,000. 
  Steinhagen's mayoralty saw him having to contend with substantial Ku Klux Klan activity in Beaumont. Promising to "get those cowards who hid behind masks", Steinhagen declared Klan members to be "as bad as Bolshevism" and along with several other prominent Beaumont citizens came out firmly in opposition to Klan activity. Steinhagen even launched an investigation into suspected Klan advocates holding city offices and directed city manager George Roark to announce that
"All city employees would be required to sign an affidavit stating they were or had been members of the Klan."
   Despite his strong opposition to Klan activity and his popularity amongst the Beaumont citizenry, Steinhagen was defeated for mayor in 1924 by attorney J.A. Barnes, who, while being a non-Klan member, had its backing over the course of the campaign.
   Following his mayoralty Steinhagen continued in the rice milling business, being the founder of the Steinhagen Rice Milling Co. in 1927. This company would later merge with the Comet Rice Co. in the late 1930s and by 1939 this merger had formed the Comet Mills Co., of which Bismark Steinhagen served as President. Steinhagen's later years saw him continue to be a leading figure in Beaumont, being acknowledged as a "pioneer in the development of the Sabine-Neches waterway improvements" and as president of the Lower Neches Valley Authority laid the groundwork for extensive waterway projects involving the Neches River basin
   Widowed in 1945, Bismark Adair Steinhagen died at age 67 on February 13, 1946. In the years following his death, his name would continue to be prominent in the history of Beaumont and in 1967 became the namesake of the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, a part of the waterway project he had helped initiate in the years prior to his death. 

Portrait from the Rice Journal, Volume 23, 1920.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Montague Woolsey Ripley (1878-1943), Montague Tucker Moses (1850-1927), Montague Hakes (1858-1921), Montague Bryant Steadman (1868-1937)

From the 1931-32 Manual of the Michigan Legislature. 

   It isn't often that one stumbles across a political figure that shares his first name with the town in which he was born, but that is precisely the case with one-term Michigan legislator Montague Woolsey Ripley, who was born in the town of Montague, Michigan on September 28, 1878. The son of druggist Lafayette G. and May (Brackley) Ripley, Montague W. Ripley graduated from Montague High School in 1895 and continued his studies at Albion College, graduating in the class of 1899. He married in Calhoun, Michigan in August 1903 to Katharine W. Webster. The couple were wed for forty years and had five children, Arthur, Lucille, Florence, Mary, and Alice.
   Following his college graduation, Ripley entered into publishing, being the editor of the Whitehall Forum newspaper for a brief period. In the early 1900s, he followed his father into the druggist business, joining him at a pharmacy in Montague. In 1904 Ripley entered into public service for the first time, being named as Montague's postmaster, an office he would continue to hold until 1916. He'd later hold a seat on the Montague board of education and was a member of the Montague Progressive Club and the local Masonic chapter.
   In 1919 Ripley returned to the druggist trade, operating with his brother drug stores located in Montague and Whitehall, Michigan. Ripley continued along this route until 1931 when he became a Republican candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives. This special election had been occasioned by the death of Edward Skeels (1865-1931), a three-term representative from Muskegon County's 2nd district. After winning the Republican nomination in March, Ripley went on to defeat Democrat T. Thomas Thatcher in the April election and took his seat in the legislature soon after.
    Montague W. Ripley's brief time as a representative saw him sit on the committees on Apportionment, Conservation, the State Normal College, and the State Public School. Ripley's time in state government also saw him vote an emphatic "no" to Constitutional Amendment No. 3 (also referred to as the Michigan Plan), a piece of legislation offered up by Wayne County that would increase its representation in the house from 22 legislators to 39. Ripley and several other legislators cried foul, with Ripley noting that 
"Increasing Wayne's representation in the House from 22 to 39, will give Wayne County a negative control in all legislation, and a positive control in all matters that requires a two-thirds vote in either house."
   Ripley was a candidate for reelection in 1932 but in November lost out to the man he had defeated the previous year, T. Thomas Thatcher. Ripley would run another unsuccessful candidacy in 1934 and in 1936 moved to Lansing, where he accepted a position in the state library department. He would also return to operating a pharmacy and was acknowledged as one of the foremost historians on the history of the White Lake, Michigan area in the latter portion of his life. Ripley suffered a heart attack two weeks before his death and later had a stroke, dying at his home on August 30, 1943, at age 64. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred in Lansing.

Portrait from the History of the Bench and Bar of California, 1912.

   A resident of both Ohio and Washington, D.C., lawyer Montague Tucker Moses migrated west to California in the late 1870s, where he continued his practice. Moses earns a spot here on the site due to his 1902 candidacy for the California state senate, running as a Democrat. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 11, 1850, Montague Tucker Moses was the son of Simpson and Lizzie (Tucker) Moses. Young Montague would later reside in Washington, D.C., and received his education in the district schools.
   In the late 1860s, Moses enrolled at George Washington University and graduated with his law degree in the class of 1872. He was admitted to the bar that same year and operated his practice in Washington until his removal to California in 1876. In the year following his resettlement, he joined fellow attorney James Crittenden in the firm of Crittenden and Moses, which extended until 1882. For the next three years Moses practiced alone, and in 1888 established a partnership with Charles A. Sumner, which would continue for sixteen years.
  Moses entered the political life of California in 1902 when he became the Democratic nominee for state senator from California's 22nd district. One of the three candidates running that year, Moses placed third in that contest, losing out to Republican nominee Hamilton Bauer by a vote of 2,883 to 818Active in the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization. Moses served that group as a Head Consul and also served as the editor of the group's "Pacific Woodmen" publication beginning in 1907
  Little information is available on Moses' life after 1907, except notice of his practicing law in San Francisco. He died on August 20, 1927, at age 77, and had been married with three children, Preston, Lillian, and Montague Hudson.

Portrait from the Iowa Legislative database.

   Two-term Iowa state representative and congressional candidate Montague Hakes is another "Montague" who found success in politics. A lifelong Iowan, Hakes was one of several children born to Giles Julian and Phoebe (Randall) Hakes, his birth occurring in Jones County on February 24, 1858. He received a common school education and enrolled at the State Agricultural College in Ames in the late 1870s. Following his graduation from that school's science department in 1880 Hakes spent four years employed in railroad construction, work that would take him to Idaho, Colorado, and South Dakota.
   Montague Hakes married In December 1884 to Harriett "Hattie" Arnold (1861-1934). The couple were wed until Montague's death in 1921 and had four children, Byron Arnold (1886-1947), Karl Montague (1889-1951), Ledgard (Ledyard) (1894-1957), and Leland Paul (1897-1954). Shortly after his marriage, Hakes joined his father in Laurens, Iowa, and together established  G.J. Hakes and Son, a general store and poultry business. This firm continued on until 1890, when the elder Hakes sold off his interest in the business to another son, James, with the firm undergoing a name change to M. and J.R. Hakes
  Through the 1890s and early 1900s, the Hakes brothers saw their poultry business expand through numerous Iowa railway towns, and by 1900 the brothers had built along the Northwestern railroad a 
"Large establishment for the handling of eggs and the dressing of poultry and sheds that accommodate many thousands of live fowl." 
  The Hakes brother's success in poultry sales brought considerable revenue to Laurens, Iowa, and Pocahontas County, making it "one of the most important centers of the poultry trade in Iowa". With his operations having nearly $200,000 in "live and dressed" poultry, Montague Hakes entered into other areas of business, being a co-partner in a Laurens-based coal and lumber firm, and had a financial stake in a lumber company in Washington and a fruit ranch in Colorado. 
   Montague Hakes made his first foray into the political life of Pocahontas County in 1885 when he was named U.S. Postmaster at Laurens. He would serve in that capacity until 1889 and in the following year began a five-year stint on the Laurens city council. Hakes also made his first run for the Iowa House of Representatives during this time, being an unsuccessful candidate for the house in the 1891 election year. In 1903 he was again a candidate for the state legislature and was this time victorious, narrowly defeating Republican nominee F.C. Gilchrist by a vote of 1,591 to 1487
   Taking his seat at the start of the 1904-06 session, Hakes served on the committees on the Agricultural College, Ways and Means, Banks and Banking, Roads and Highways, Suppression of Intemperance, and Senatorial districts. In the 1905 election year Hakes won a second term and during the 1906-08 term was named the Committee on Claims. He was defeated for a third term in 1907 by James Stewart, 1,559 votes to 1,357.
   In 1908 Montague Hakes set his sights on a seat in Congress, announcing his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa's 10th district. One of four candidates running that year, Hakes placed second on election day, polling 17,256 votes to winning Republican Frank Plowman Wood's total of 29,608. Following his congressional loss, Hakes continued to reside in Laurens with his family and died in that city on July 5, 1921, at age 63.  His wife Hattie survived him by thirteen years and following her death in 1934 was interred alongside him at the Laurens Cemetery.
   Political service would continue in the Hakes family in Frances Gilchrist Hakes (1897-1988), Montague Hakes' daughter-in-law. Frances Helsell Gilchrist was the daughter of former U.S. Representative Francis Gilchrist and married in 1922 to Ledgard (Ledyard) B. Hakes, Montague Hakes' third-born son. The couple was wed until his death in 1957 and three years later Frances Hakes was elected to the first of two terms in the Iowa state legislature from Pocahontas County, serving in the sessions of 1961-63 and 1963-65.

Portrait from the 1903 California Blue Book.

   In an April 25, 2018 update to this article, another politically involved Montague has been discovered--Montague Bryant Steadman! Steadman is unique as he is the first native of New Zealand to be profiled here on the site, being born in Auckland on September 4th of either 1867 or 1868 (accounts vary). The son of Thomas and Ella Steadman, Steadman's education occurred in the country of his birth "in public schools and by private tuition."
  Steadman immigrated to California in 1889 and later became employed as a private secretary to David Jack (1822-1909), a millionaire land developer, businessman, and the man who popularized "Monterey Jack" cheese. In 1892 Steadman married Dolores "Dolly" Gregg (1873-1956), with whom he had two children, Montague Gregg (1897-1983) and Vera (1900-1966). The couple would later divorce and in February 1908 Steadman remarried to Frances  Josephine Chavoya (1874-1961), to whom he was wed until his death. One further son would be born to the couple, Montague Bryant Jr., who died aged 98 in 2007.
   Montague B. Steadman entered the political life of California in November 1902 when he won election to the California State Assembly from the 59th district. Serving in the session of 1903-05, he would be named to the committees on Agriculture, Military Affairs, Public Morals and would chair the committee on Dairies and Dairy Products.
  Little else is known of Steadman's life following his term in the legislature. In 1907 he is recorded as serving as a trustee for the city of Monterey and by 1920 had relocated to Santa Clara County. He died here on June 30, 1937, and was later interred at the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Aderial Hebard Case (1828-1908)

Portrait from the Topeka State Journal, December 8, 1908.

   One of a number of political figures who've had a photo featured on the site's Facebook page over the past several years, Aderial Hebard "Hib" Case was a leading lawyer in Topeka, Kansas early in its history, and for a brief period served as District Attorney for Kansas's 3rd judicial district. Case would practice law for over forty years and became a prominent figure in the life of a rising young lawyer named Charles Curtis, later to serve as a U.S. Senator and Vice President of the United States under Herbert Hoover.
   A native of Pennsylvania, Aderial Hebard Case was born in the small borough of Troy,  the son of Elihu and Charlotte Palmer Case. While little information exists on his early life or education, Case reflected on his early life and upbringing in a six-page letter in November 1902, entitled "A Dull Day's Confession":
"I was born December 19, 1828, of respectable Yankee parents in the hill country of Pennsylvania at a time when the snow covered the house ten feet deep, and at a place where no esculapius could come, to make my mother afraid. Reared on a farm, in a foundry, and in an upright, overshot saw mill, and educated by Dr. Blue in a log cabin and at a big log fire place, by my mother, who intended for me the pulpit in that church, whose whole creed is embraced in the text, 'Repent  and be baptized (not sprinkled) and wash away your sins.'"
  Upon reaching the age of twenty-one Case did what many young men only dream of doing--He joined the circus. Imbued with a case of wanderlust, Case began following around showman Dan Rice's "Greatest Show On Earth", selling "tartaric lemonade and cookies as big as a cart wheel, all for five cents." Case continued along this route for an indeterminate length of time, selling various pieces of confectionery and drinks. He would marry in 1854 to Helen Augusta Kiff (1836-1870), with whom he had one son, Daniel Hebard (1864-1946).
   After accumulating over $1,300 in savings, Case opted to leave the circus behind and entered into the general merchandising business, work that would take him to Chicago in 1856. After a short spell in that city he moved to Iowa, and following the economic panic of 1857 traveled to St. Louis, where he took work as a dishwasher and sweeper. He would first read law around this time and during his St. Louis residency Case frequented the local saloon and also made the acquaintance of future U.S. President Ulysses Grant, who was then working near St. Louis "hauling poles from his father in law's country place." Case later went to work grading what would become "the Frisco railroad", and upon completion of his duties set out for Kansas with his wife, traveling via horse and buggy and steamboat.
   Following a journey that took them through Kansas City, Leavenworth, and Lawrence, Hib Case saw a bright future for himself in Topeka, then a burgeoning city of a few thousand residents. Here Case would establish his law practice in 1859, and continued in that profession until his death nearly five decades later. As a frontier lawyer who traveled widely throughout the state, business came slowly, but eventually, Case built up a reputation as a solid attorney, one who would become known as one of the foremost criminal lawyers in Kansas. Case's skill in the courtroom and generosity were later attested to by fellow lawyer and longtime friend Capt. J.G. Waters, a man who had found himself against Case in the courtroom on several occasions. In a lengthy address memorializing his friend, Waters remarked that
"As a lawyer he was to be feared from the first onset to the last shot fired. If an opponent unwarily had its attention distracted, he was a lost man. In the heydey of his most vigorous career, his practice extended well over the state. The man in trouble hunted for Mr. Case. If he had had a particle of greed in his composition he would long ago have been a very wealthy man. He did not have it. His heart mellowed at any story or distress. He gave when he should have kept, and then to ease his conscience he forgot the transaction."
Portrait from the December 10, 1908 Topeka State Journal.

   "Hib" Case entered the political life of Kansas in 1861 when he took on the post of District Attorney for Kansas' 3rd judicial district, a post he would hold until the following year.  Case later advanced to the posts of deputy U.S. District Attorney for Kansas and deputy internal revenue collector, holding the former post for four years. Case would also pass up opportunities to further his political career, turning down judicial positions in both Kansas and Texas, relating that "I would not be judge, because I would not sentence any man to be hung or to life confinement."
   In 1879 Case took on the services of a rising young lawyer named Charles Curtis (1860-1936), who began working for him as a clerk. Under Case's tutelage, Curtis was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1881 and in that same year joined with him in practice. Their firm continued until 1884, when Curtis began an exemplary political career, one that would see him serve as a district attorney, U.S. Representative (1892-1907), and U.S. Senator from Kansas (1907-1928). In 1928 Curtis was elected as Vice-President of the United States on the Republican ticket with Herbert Hoover and served for one term, being defeated for reelection in 1932.
  Widowed in 1870, "Hib" Case remarried in 1872 to Lucia Ophelia Benton (1852-1925), to whom he was wed until his death. Case continued with his Topeka-based practice until his death from a heart ailment on December 7, 1908, shortly before his eightieth birthday. He was survived by his wife and son and was interred at the Topeka Cemetery.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hopestill Potter Dimond (1790-1857)

Portrait from "Charles D'Wolf of Guadaloupe, his ancestors and descendants", 1902.

    Certainly one of the oddest named legislators ever elected to the Rhode Island General Assembly, Hopestill Potter Dimond was a lifelong resident of the Ocean State, a state that was last visited here with our June 2013 write-up on state representative and Central Falls mayor Eastwood Eastwood. A descendant of a family long prominent in the affairs of Bristol, Dimond's surname was also spelled "Diman", "Diamond", and "Diament" by earlier branches of the family. Born in Bristol on November 16, 1790, Hopestill Potter Dimond was the eldest of six children born to Capt. Royal (1768-1820) and Elizabeth Moore Diman. 
   Little information exists on Dimond's youth or education, except notice of his marriage to Eliza Nichols Attwood (1797-1888) on April 17, 1815. The couple's forty-two-year union would see the births of eight children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Montgomery (1816-1863), William Frazier (1818-1893), Mary (1820-1822), Hopestill (1823-1853), Charles Wesley (1829-1880), Francis Moore (born 1833), John Nichols (1836-1880) and Elizabeth (1839-1899).
   In 1818 Hopestill P. Dimond was elected to represent Bristol in the Rhode Island General Assembly and served during the 1819-20 session. In addition to his legislative service, Dimond also held the post of inspector at the U.S. Customs House at Bristol for three decades and died in Bristol on October 15, 1857, at age 66. He was survived by his wife and six of his children and was interred at the Juniper Hill Cemetery in Bristol
  Public service continued in the Diman/Dimond family in Francis Moore Dimond (1796-1859), the brother of the man profiled here. Francis M. Dimond served as U.S. Consul in Port-au-Prince Haiti from 1832-1835 and from 1842-49 was U.S. Consul in Veracruz. He was elected as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island in 1853 and succeeded to the Governorship upon the resignation of Governor Phillip Allen, serving in that capacity until 1854.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lacon Dorsey Stockton (1814-1860)

Portrait courtesy of 

"He was about six feet in height, well proportioned, good-looking, of apparently rugged health, wore glasses, of correct habits, studious, fond of literature, and possessed of much general information. He had less legal practice than most of those I have mentioned, and did not seem anxious for practice or popularity."
   Such was the description given of Lacon Dorsey Stockton, a former Mayor of Burlington, Iowa, and an Associate Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. A transplant to Iowa from Kentucky, Stockton was born in Richmond County in 1814, a son of Joshua and Phoebe (Durrett) Stockton. Little is known of Stockton's early life in Kentucky except that he was admitted to the bar prior to removing to Iowa in either 1836 or 1837.  Lacon D. Stockton is recorded as having married in Clermont County, Ohio in 1841 to Elizabeth B. Collins, to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have a total of seven children (as per the 1850 and 1860 censuses) and are listed as follows: Sally, John Collins, Richard, Phebe, Robert, Harry, and Frank.
    Following his resettlement in Iowa Stockton established himself in Burlington, where he would practice law. He entered the political life of that state in the early 1840s when he held the post of District Attorney of Des Moines County from 1843-46. Stockton later went on to serve as a solicitor for Burlington in 1848 and 1850, and in 1854  served as Mayor of Burlington for one term, being succeeded in 1855 by Silas Hudson.
   In addition to local politics, Stockton would add the title of newspaper editor to his resume, serving as the editor of the Burlington Hawk-Eye for a brief period in 1851. Stockton also left an imprint upon the early educational history of Burlington, being a past secretary for a Burlington school commission in 1849 and in 1853-54 was a school district director.
   The high mark of Lacon Stockton's political and judicial career occurred in 1856 when he was appointed by Governor James W. Grimes as an Associate Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. Stockton's appointment came about due to the resignation of Justice Norman Isbell, and he was reelected to the bench by the legislature in 1857. Stockton's four-year tenure on the bench was profiled in the 1885 Portrait and Biographical History of Des Moines County, which notes that
"This office was one he was eminently fitted by his ability, integrity, learning and sound judgement. He was an excellent writer, and those who will study his opinions will not only find them sound in law, but clad in a simple, terse, incisive style, of which Lincoln's was the supreme example."
   Lacon D. Stockton continued on the bench until his death from consumption on June 9, 1860. Just 46 years old at the time of his death, he was the first Iowa Supreme Court justice to die in office and his lack of years robbed Iowa of a man who had the potential of being "amongst the very first Judges of the land." A burial location for both Stockton and his wife remains unknown at this time.