Sunday, April 29, 2018

Vital Emanuel Bangs (1834-1913)

Vital Bangs (with fancy hat), from the History of Stanislaus County, 1913.

  Following on the heels of San Francisco mayoral candidate Brilsford P. Flint, another oddly named Californian gets accorded his due...Vital Emanuel Bangs of Stanislaus County. A two-term member of the state assembly from that county, Bangs also gained distinction in Modesto educational circles, being a vice-principal, county board of education member, and a contributor to educational journals of the time. Although a resident of California for a good majority of his life, his birth didn't occur in that state. Bangs was born in Victoria, Mexico on August 26, 1834, the son of printer and publisher Samuel (ca. 1798-1854) and Susan (Payne) Bangs, respective natives of Massachusetts and Virginia who had settled in Mexico prior to their son's birth. Given the unusual name "Vital" upon his birth, Bangs' middle name Emanuel is listed as being spelled with both one and two m's.
  Bangs' formative years were spent in Mexico and by age 14 was residing in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he attended school. He further studied at the Cedar Park Seminary and the Kalamazoo College before putting his schooling on hold, having caught the gold rush bug in the early 1850s. In 1853 he resettled in El Dorado, California and after a short spell at mining began teaching a Spanish night school in that county. By 1858 Bangs had returned to Kalamazoo and, after completing his studies, removed to Vernon County, Missouri. His time in this state saw him teach school for two years, whereafter he pulled up stakes once again and this time removed to Douglas County, Kansas.
  Vital E. Bangs married in Kansas in 1863 to Mary G. Moore (1845-1918), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple's near five decades of marriage saw the births of for children, Henry T. (birthdate unknown), Susan (1870-1934), Victoria Letitia (1878-1956) and Vital Everitt (1886-1890).In the year following his marriage Bangs and his wife made the move to California, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. He would subsequently begin a teaching career that would take him through Tulare, Placer and Sacremento County, and by 1873 had permanently settled in Modesto, Stanislaus County
  Within a short period of his arrival in Modesto Bangs had entered into the post of vice-principal of schools for the city, and for decades afterward loomed large in Stanislaus County education. Bangs would serve on the county board of education for twelve years, be the vice president of the Modesto Teacher's Institute in 1880, and in the last name year wrote an extensive history of the Stanislaus County public school system for inclusion in the 1881 History of Stanislaus County. Bangs would also be a contributor to the "California Teacher" and other educational periodicals well into the early 20th century.
   In addition to his long career in education, Bangs was also heavily involved in the Stanislaus County Grange, being a charter member and master (1877-1878) of that organization, as well as its first secretary, serving from 1873-1876. Bangs had further involvement in area agriculture with his service as assessor for the Modesto Irrigation District and also was named as the director for California's 28th agricultural district by Governor Henry H. Markham in the early 1890s. 
   Vital E. Bangs' first foray into California political life came with his election to the state assembly in 1887 as a representative from Modesto. Serving in the session of 1888-89, Bangs was named to the committees on County and Township Governments, Crimes and Penalties, Education, and Water Rights and Drainage. Bangs would win a second term in 1902, and was unopposed in that year's election, garnering 3,745 votes and "receiving the votes of both parties and polling the largest vote of any man in the assembly." Bang's second term commenced in January 1903 and during that session sat on the committees on Education, Immigration, Irrigation, and Public Health and Quarantine.
  Following his final term in the assembly, Vital Bangs continued residence in Modesto, residing on a nearly five hundred acre ranch near the city, where he grew alfalfa and raised dairy cattle. Bangs died in Modesto on November 15, 1913, at age 79 and was survived by his wife Mary. Both are buried at the Modesto Citizens Cemetery. 
Vital E. Bangs, from the 1903 California Blue Book.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Brilsford Pease Flint (1842-1906)

Portrait from Fifty Years of Masonry in California, Vol. II, 1898.

  Long a leading Mason in San Francisco, California, Brilsford Pease Flint was a native Mainer who, following a few year's residence in Ohio, migrated to the Sunshine State in the late 1860s. Following his resettlement on the west coast, Flint became a successful sheep rancher and wool merchant, a vocation he continued to follow for a number of years. Flint earns a spot here on the site due to his 1879 Republican candidacy for Mayor of San Francisco. Born in North Anson, Maine on September 19, 1842, Brilsford Pease Flint was the son of two-term state senator William Reed (1796-1887) and Electa (Weston) Flint (1802-1885).
  Flint's early life in Maine saw him work the family farm, gain a "first-class common school education" and while in his late teens began teaching in a district school during the winter months. After attaining maturity Flint left Maine for Ohio, and following his settling in Chillicothe was retained as a clerk and deputy in the Ross County Treasurer's office from 1863-65. In 1866 Flint caught wind of the discovery of oil in West Virginia, and soon removed to that state to seek his fortune. This proved to be an unwise decision, and following his resettlement in that state saw:
"In common with others, his capital was swamped in the oleaginous vortex, and he was, financially, totally ruined."
 Left in a state of financial precariousness, Flint took stock of his losses and after finding employment secured enough money to return to Maine by late 1866. In February of the following year, he went to sea, booking passage on a steamer bound for California. Brilsford's two older brothers, Benjamin and Thomas, had both migrated to California some years previously, with Thomas later being elected to a term in the state senate from Monterey County.
  After reaching San Francisco, Brilsford Flint joined his brothers in the firm of Flint, Bixby & Co., where he would be employed as a foreman of a large sheep ranch. Flint's tenure as foreman extended three years, and, having seen a bright future for himself in the wool industry, branched out on his own in the early 1870s, establishing the B.P. Flint & Co., a purchasing and wool shipping enterprise. Following a brief return to Maine, Flint married in Chillicothe, Ohio in March 1871 to Gertrude Gilmore (1845-1910), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have four children, Electa (died in infancy in 1872), Anna, Agnes (died 1907) and Brilsford Pease Jr.
  Throughout the succeeding years, Flint saw his wool business continue to expand, with the Daily Alta California noting that the "commission business alone amounting to three or four million pounds annually, on account of Eastern manufacturers.  Flint would also branch out into San Francisco civic affairs, serving as city school director and a director of the city's Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Brilsford Flint (with fancy Masonic hat), from the L.A. Herald, September 6, 1904.

  Brilsford Flint's status as a prominent Mason in California is an integral part of his life story. He first entered that order in April 1876 in the Occidental Lodge of Masons in San Francisco and by January of the following year had reached the degree of Master Mason of that lodge. From 1878-79 he was that lodge's Junior Warden and was made Worshipful Master in 1880. A following is a list of the Masonic titles Flint was awarded through the remainder of his life:

  • 1877: Sublime Degree of Royal Arch Mason in California Chapter No. 5, at San Francisco.
  • 1881: Awarded the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross in August of that year and in September was created a "Knight Templar and a Knight of Malta" in California Commandery No. 1 in San Francisco.
  • 1883: Appointed Standard Bearer.
  • 1885: Appointed Senior Warden.
  • 1886: Appointed Captain-General.
  • 1887-1888: Appointed Generalissimo in 1887 and in the year following named as Eminent Commander.
  • 1898: Appointed Grand Warder of the Grand Commandery. 
   A lifelong Republican, Flint refrained from pursuing political office but was an acknowledged voice in Republican circles in San Francisco, being a member of the Tax Payer's city convention of 1877 that nominated city councilman Monroe Ashbury (1815-1880) for mayor. In 1879 Pease was urged by Republican leaders in the city to accept their nomination for Mayor of San Francisco, and in August of that year received the nomination at the city Republican convention. Flint's opponent that year was Isaac Smith Kalloch (1832-1887), a Baptist Minister and candidate of the Workingman's Party

From the Daily Alta California, August 8, 1879.

   As a candidate on which "no spot or blemish of a public or private nature can be found", Flint hit the stump and in a lengthy write-up on his candidacy published in the August 19th Daily Alta California outlined his principles and political platform, including his stance on the then important topic of Chinese immigration in California. In this address Flint stated:
"At present, I can only say that I am in sympathy most thoroughly with the retrenchment and reform measures demanded by the people of this city. I am under obligations to no man, or set of men, for my nomination, and no pledges of any sort have been expected of me. I am, therefore, perfectly independent, in the broadest sense, and if elected, shall run the mayor's office solely in the interest of the public. As a businessman, I am opposed to exhorbitant gas contracts, and the binding of the city to them, and as Mayor I should observe the same rules as in my business. Of course I should not have been a resident of San Francisco nine years without seeing the evil that results from the residence here of Chinese, and am in favor of legal methods of removing that cause of social disorder, and of stopping the immigration. I have never employed a Chinaman in my business or encouraged them in any other way, nor do I intend to."
  The 1879 campaign for Mayor of San Francisco can certainly be considered one of the dirtiest elections on record and makes the 2016 Presidential race tame by comparison. While Flint (his negative opinion of Asian immigrants notwithstanding) remained above board during the campaign, the same cannot be said of the men centering in Isaac Kalloch's campaign. The fracas began when Kalloch (the Workingman's Party nominee) was defamed by Charles de Young, a founder and editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. de Young (who had backed another candidate, Denis Kearney), came out as firmly anti-Kalloch, with the Chronicle referring to him as a"tainted preacher" and brought up old allegations of adultery on Kalloch's part

Isaac Kalloch and Charles de Young.

  Understandably indignant over assaults on his character, Kalloch hit back at de Young with some very un-ministerly remarks, slandering de Young's mother as the operator of a brothel and repeating an earlier statement calling de Young "the bastard progeny of a whore." This proved to be too much for de Young, and on August 23, 1879, he took a carriage to Kalloch's office at the Metropolitan Temple. Through false pretenses de Young managed to get Kalloch to come down to the street, and as Kalloch neared de Young's location de Young fired a pistol and hit Kalloch twice, severely wounding him. A crowd of angry people soon formed and after a few well-placed kicks from the townspeople, de Young was taken to jail.
   Despite his wounds, Kalloch was taken to his study and for the next several days was kept under guard by militiamen. As election day dawned, many San Franciscans went to the polls and made sympathetic votes for Kalloch, and on September 4, 1879, he was elected mayor, besting Brilsford P. Flint by a narrow margin, 20, 069 votes to 19, 550. Interestingly, following his victory, Kalloch made a "speedy recovery" from his wounds. The nastiness of the campaign didn't end with Kalloch's victory, however. Charles de Young, who had been released on bail following the shooting, laid low for a few months but was soon up to his old tricks and tasked some of the staff of the Chronicle to further slander Kalloch, the end result being a sixty-page pamphlet that excoriated the new mayor. Kalloch's son, Isaac Milton Kalloch (1852-1930), soon had vengeance on his mind, and on April 3, 1880, made his way inside the Chronicle building with a pistol, intent on killing de Young. After a brief chase between the two men through the first floor of the building, Kalloch fired several shots and hit de Young at least once, killing him. Kalloch would later be tried for the murder of de Young, but was ultimately found not guilty by a jury. Following the trial, Kalloch would turn to law studies and became an attorney in Oakland, where he died in 1930 at age 77.
   Having been on the sidelines during the Kalloch-de Young fracas, it is unknown as to what Brilsford Flint thought of this intriguing election. Following his mayoral loss, he continued to attain high rank in the Masonic fraternity and from 1889-90 held a seat on the San Francisco Board of Education. A former president of the Olympic Club in San Francisco and a past potentate of the Islam Temple in that city, Flint would serve as Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of California until his death, which occurred at his home on November 11, 1906. He was survived by his wife Gertrude, and following her death in 1910 was interred alongside her husband at the famed Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California. 

Flint's obituary from the San Francisco Call, November 12, 1906.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Consul Willshire Butterfield (1824-1899)

From "History of George Rogers Clark's Conquest of Illinois and the Wabash", 1904.

   A widely read American author and historian during the mid to late 19th century, Consul Willshire Butterfield authored over a dozen works on American history, extending from the Revolutionary period to histories of the states of Ohio, Wisconsin and the discovery of American northwest. A resident of New York, Ohio, California, Wisconsin, and Nebraska during his life, Butterfield's inclusion here on the site rests on his 1850 candidacy for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an election he narrowly lost. In preparation for this article, I also discovered that Butterfield had a small connection to my home county of Chautauqua, NY, a tidbit that this author had previously been unaware of!
   Born near Colosse, Oswego County, New York on July 28, 1824, Consul Willshire Butterfield was the son of Amroy (also spelled Amory) and Mary Lamb Butterfield. Being bestowed the unusual first name Consul upon his birth, this odd name (Consul nowadays referring to a type of diplomat) initially led me to believe that Butterfield had been in the foreign service at some point during his life, but this proved not to be the case! It is unknown as to why Butterfield received this name, but it could have a historical connection to the title of "Consul", used during the days of the Roman Empire
  Butterfield's early education was limited and is remarked as "having been pursued wholly without instruction." At age ten he removed with his family to Melmore in Seneca County, Ohio. Two years following his resettlement, young Consul was left fatherless when his father was killed by a falling piece of timber, whilst assisting in the construction of a church. At age eighteen Butterfield left Ohio for New York, and around 1842 entered into a teaching position in a district school in Omar, Chautauqua County, New York. Little is known of Butterfield's time in this county, but Omar (as it was known in Butterfield's time) later underwent a name change to Hamlet and still exists under this name today.
  In the early 1840s Butterfield began attending the Albany State Normal School, and after two terms of study left due to sickness. Following an extended trip through Europe, he returned to Seneca County, Ohio and soon after began work on his first major historical work, a history of Seneca County. Completed in 1848, the "History of Seneca County" gave detail accounts of that county from the early Indian settlements until the present time, and was later acknowledged as "really the first strictly county history ever issued in book form west of the Allegheny Mountains."
   In 1847 Butterfield gained his first taste of public office when he was elected as Superintendent of Schools for Seneca County. He remained in that post until 1849, when, like many other young men of the time, caught the gold rush bug and left for California. Within a short period of his arrival, Butterfield had taken up law studies in San Francisco and had become deeply interested in the educational system of the still young state. At the time of Butterfield's removal to California, the state had no State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and during the 1850 election year, a legislative measure was passed providing for the election of a state educational officer. Beginning in September 1850, both the Whig and Democratic parties offered forth candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and on September 30th Consul W. Butterfield officially threw his hat into the ring as an independent candidate for that office.

From the Sacramento Transcript, Sept. 1850.

  Butterfield's jump into the race began with a lengthy address to the voters of California, published in the Sacramento Transcript on September 30. In this address, Butterfield took time to outline his ideas on how best to run the post he hoped to be elected to, stating:
"Judging from the past, we may look forward and anticipate for our rapidly growing state, vast improvements of every kind, and it is to be expected, its institutions will keep pace with its progress in other respects. Simultaneously with the establishment of schools, we may expect the springing into existence of journals devoted to Primary Instruction; establishing of Normal Schools for the education of teachers; Teacher's Institutes for social converse and interchanging of views amongst teachers; introduction to suitable text books to meet the wants of schools, and many of the modern improvements that characterize the system of Public Instruction at the present day. Careful and enlightened supervision, interest by the people at large, competent teachers, and salutary laws, are the corner stones of the great fabric of Public Instruction."
 As one of nine men vying to become the inaugural holder of the office, Butterfield faced an uphill battle. On election day he polled a respectable 3, 262 votes, placing second behind winning candidate John Gage Marvin's winning total of 3, 823. As California's first state superintendent of education, Marvin (1815-1857) served in that post until 1854 and later died in Hawaii in 1857.
   Consul W. Butterfield's stay in the Sunshine State proved to be short, and by 1851 had returned to Ohio. He began studying law in that state and in May 1854 married in Bucyrus to Almira "Mira" Scroggs (1829-1857), to whom he was wed until her death. He would remarry in the year following her death to Letta Merriman Reichenecker (1825-1900), with whom he had at least ten children, all but one (a daughter Allie) dying in infancy.
  Admitted to the Ohio bar in 1855, Butterfield established his practice in Bucyrus and for a time held the post of secretary for the Ohio and Indiana Railroad Co. While in this post Butterfield also found time to complete his second book, "A Comprehensive System of Grammatical and Rhetorical Punctuation", which later was to become "a very popular work and was introduced into many schools." In 1872 Butterfield retired from his law practice to better focus his energies on writing, and in 1873 published "An Historical Account of the Expedition Against Sandusky under Col. William Crawford, in 1782". This work gave a detailed account of Col. William Crawford (1722-1782) and his disastrous campaign against Indian tribes and their British allies along the Sandusky River, the end result being the capture of Crawford and a number of his men (the former being tortured and burned at the stake.)
  Butterfield's history of the Crawford expedition was met with "general interest and favor" and received glowing praise from the New York Observer, which noted:
"The terrible death of Col. Crawford by torture, is depicted with so much vividness and power that one, in reading it, almost feels that he is a personal witness of the terrible transaction."
 Two years following the publishing of the above work Butterfield and his wife left Ohio for Wisconsin. Settling in the city of Madison, he began work on a pioneer history of the area with Dr. Lyman Draper, a book that was never published. In 1877 two Butterfield works were published, the first being "The Washington-Crawford Letters", detailing the correspondence between General Washington and Col. William Crawford (along with his brother Valentine). This was followed by a history of Wisconsin that was published in conjunction with the 1877 Historical Atlas of Wisconsin.
  Further works flowed from Butterfield's pen at the close of the 1870s, including "The History of University of Wisconsin: From Its First Organization until 1879." Wisconsin history still proved to be the main theme in 1881 when Butterfield authored "Discovery of the Northwest in 1634 by John Nicolet", a detailed write-up on French trader and adventurer John Nicolet's exploration of Lake Michigan (being the first European to do so), as well as his travels through Wisconsin and other portions of the Northwest Territory.
  Throughout Butterfield's residency in Wisconsin, he continued to author a steady stream of county histories and for several years was connected with various historical periodicals, including stints with the Northwest Review, Descriptive America, and the Magazine of Western History. In 1888 he removed from Wisconsin to Omaha, Nebraska and in the early part of the next decade authored a "History of South Omaha", that would be published in installments in 1892 and 1893. Consul W. Butterfield died at his home in South Omaha on September 25, 1899, at age 75. As a distinguished American historian and author, Butterfield's death was acknowledged in newspapers in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota. His wife Letta would survive him by only a year and following her death in 1900 was interred alongside him at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Omaha. Butterfield was also survived by a younger sister, Emilie Jane (1833-1910), who would have a colorful life of her own. In 1872 she married in London to French theologian and former monk Charles Loyson, known by the name Pere Hyacinthe, a newsworthy wedding in Catholic circles of the time. 

From the Indianapolis Journal, September 26, 1899.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dorah Elijah Maples (1860-1944)

Portrait from the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1934.

   One of a bevy of oddly named men elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in the course of its nearly 200-year history, Dorah Elijah Maples is also on a shortlist of odd name male political figures who were unfortunately saddled with a female first name. Briefly featured on this site's Facebook page in July of last year, Maples was a man of many hats, being a teacher, farmer, lumberman, coal dealer and a four-term state representative from  Christian County. Interestingly, Maple's second and third terms were spaced twenty-five years apart!
  Born in Clever, Christian County, Missouri on December 14, 1860, Dorah Elijah Maples was the son of Noah and Sarah Anne (Greenaway) Maples. The son of a Civil War veteran, Maples visited his wounded father in a Cairo, Missouri hospital when just three years of age, and during that visit met President Abraham Lincoln, an encounter that Maples would remember for the remainder of his life. Maples later recounted the meeting in a 1935 interview with the Jefferson City Post Tribune, relating:
"I was only a small boy, can't remember many things that happened in those days, but I can vividly recall the time my mother took me to the Cairo hospital to see my father who was dangerously wounded, his army shot away. While we were standing at my father's side, a tall ungainly looking man, with stubby whiskers came walking down the rows of cots."'Mother', I said, 'that man's clothes don't fit him!'' "'Sh--', she said, trying to quiet me. 'That's the president of the United States.' "When he reached us, he put his hand on my head and said 'little boy, be good to your mother.'"
  Maples' early education began in the common schools and he would go on to attend the Drury College in Springfield. He married to Lucy Eva Craig (1869-1947) in December 1890 and the couple's fifty-three-year union produced four childrenSamuel Bernice (1892-1951), Horace Bertrand (1894-1980), Lura Nalan (1896-1980) and Gladys Jewel (1908-1982). 
  A farmer and teacher in Christian County, Maples entered the political life of that county in 1902 when he became the  Republican candidate for the state house of representatives from his district, and in November defeated Democratic nominee J.W. Henry by a vote of 1574 to 949. During the 1903-04 session, Maples sat on the committees on Roads and Highways and the State Library. He won a second term in 1904 and during this term "was an author of a measure relating to Civil War records."

Dorah E. Maples, from the 1905-06 Official Manual of Missouri.

   Maples' second term in the house concluded in 1907 and wasn't a candidate for renomination the previous fall. For the next two decades, he is remarked as having been a coal dealer and lumberman. In 1924-25 he was serving as a Republican committeeman for Christian County and in 1932 was elected to a third term in the legislature, defeating Democratic candidate H.E. McSpadden by a vote of 2, 708 to 2, 343. Returned to state government after an absence of twenty-five years, Maples took his seat at the start of the 1933-35 session and served on the committees on Education, Eleemosynary Institutions, Mines and Mining, Permanent Seat of Government, and the State Library.
  While period sources mentioning Maples remain difficult to come by, two newspaper write-ups from the mid-1930s reveal him as a legislator with both a backbone and strong sense of humor. In the January 31, 1935 edition of the Macon Chronicle-Herald, Maples is mentioned as having shouted at fellow representative J.A. Gray, admonishing him for remarking that he "wouldn't dare face the folks who elected me if I voted to increase the costs of government."

From the April 5, 1935 Macon Chronicle-Herald.

  "Dorie" Maples would also reveal himself to have a warm sense of humor (see newspaper mention above), and in early 1935 entered into a legislative argument as to whether "3.2 beer was intoxicating or non-toxicating." As Maples later stated:
"If you don't get this settled soon, I'm agoin to find out for myself, I'll buy me a whole keg of the blamed stuff. And if-they throw me in jail for a drunk, I'll call on Bill Lafferty and John Taylor and some of the rest of you fellows to pay my fine."
  In November 1934 Maples won his fourth term in the house, once again besting Democratic nominee H.E. McSpadden. His final term saw him sit on the committees on the Criminal Costs, Education, Employees and the Clerical Force, and Purchasing Supplies. Maples left office in January 1937, at age 76, and retired to Clever, Missouri. He died on August 4, 1944, at age 83 and was survived by his wife of over fifty years, Lucy. Following her death in 1947, Lucy Craig Maples was interred alongside her husband at the Wise Cemetery in Clever.

Portrait from the 1935-36 Official Manual of Missouri.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Werter Renick Davis (1815-1893)

Portrait from the Baker Beacon, May 15, 1893.

    A distinguished figure in Kansas religious and educational matters during the mid 19th century, Werter Renick Davis was a transplant to Kansas from Ohio, having been a Methodist minister in the latter state for over two decades. The first president of Baker University (established in 1858), Davis organized the first faculty at that institution and would achieve further distinction as a representative in the first Kansas state legislature and as a chaplain and Lieutenant Colonel during the Civil War. 
   Born in Circleville, Ohio on April 1, 1815, Werter Renick Davis was the son of Henry and Avis Slocum Davis. In addition to Werter, the Davis family could also count Edwin Hamilton (1811-1888) and Joseph Slocum Davis (1812-1885) amongst its ranks. A law partner of future Congressman and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano, Joseph S. Davis served two terms as Probate Judge of Knox County, Ohio and was a former Mayor of Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Edwin Hamilton, the eldest of the brothers, became a noted authority on prehistoric Indians and as an archaeologist accumulated the "largest collection of relics ever assembled in America."
   At the age of just fifteen, Werter Davis enrolled at the Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and at a young age converted to the Methodist church. Davis left Kenyon before graduating but would later earn a degree in medicine and dentistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Cincinnati. In 1835 Davis entered the ministry, joining the Ohio Conference, and in June of that year was licensed to preach in Hillsborough, Ohio. He would subsequently be ordained as a deacon in 1837 in Xenia, Ohio.
  For the next eighteen years, Davis' ministry would take him throughout Ohio, accepting pastorates in "Wilmington, Union, Eaton, Germantown, Zanesville, Putnam, Hebron" as well as Dayton, Lebanon, Hamilton, and Ripley, Virginia. Davis married in Putnam, Muskingum County, Ohio in May 1843 to Minerva Russell (1822-1897). The couple were wed for just over fifty years and would have several children, including Minerva (1846-1926), Werter Renick Jr., Allie (1853-1933), Katie, and Henry T. Period sources relate Davis' "oratorical gifts", as well as his being jailed while in Virginia due to "preaching antislavery sentiments." Davis' is further remarked in the Methodist Review as having been a sight to behold in the pulpit, noting:
"In those days the people called Baptists were inclined to be argumentative, and young Davis came to be in demand to debate the question of baptism. Among his bound pamphlets are some of these discussions, printed by the communties where the debates were held. Indeed, for many years he found delight in giving a word of exhortation and sound doctrine to his friends of the immersionist persuasion; and on such occasions they were treated to something besides water."
   In 1853 Davis was transferred to the Missouri Conference and would hold a pastorate at the Ebenezer Chapel in St. Louis. He remained here for only a year, and in 1854 accepted a  position at the McKendree College in Illinois, where he would teach natural science. He would serve as acting president in his last year at that school (1858), and late in that year left Illinois for Kansas, to accept the presidency of the newly organized Baker University in Baldwin City. "Empowered to organize his own faculty", Davis took stock of the Baker Campus and briefly returned to McKendree College to entice professors to come and join the newly established college. Following his return to Kansas in spring 1859, Davis set about organizing the curriculum and professors and would serve as college president from 1858-62. After leaving the presidency Davis remained connected to the college and by the time of his death in 1893 Baker University had grown to be "equipped with the necessary appliances for successful work, with substantial buildings, a faculty of twenty-one teachers, and an annual enrollment of over five hundred."
   Werter R. Davis' brief involvement in politics began when he was elected as a Republican to the First Kansas State legislature as a representative from Douglas County. Taking his seat in 1861, he chaired the house committee on education and during his term " his voice was heard in its halls for freedom and civic righteousness." Davis is also referenced as having served as Superintendent of Public Instruction for Douglas County during his term.
  During his college stewardship Davis still remained connected to the ministry, being named as a presiding elder of the Wyandot Conference for the Baldwin City district. He would put his church work on hold in 1862 to join in the ongoing war effort, becoming a chaplain for the Twelfth Kansas Infantry. Despite having no previous military experience, Davis' was remarked as having a soldier-like bearing, and following his appointment as chaplain was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel, to assist in organizing the 16th Reg., Kansas Volunteer Infantry. Davis was subsequently given command of that regiment and served with it until the close of the war. In the waning days of the Civil War Davis would serve as the commandant at Ft. Leavenworth for a brief period, and is remarked as having taken part in an "expedition against the Indians in the Black Hills."

From the May 19, 1909 edition of the Western Christian Advocate.

  Davis continued in the ministry after the Civil War and again served as president of Baker College from 1868-69 and briefly in 1870. He was a presiding elder in both the Leavenworth and Topeka districts and in 1880 removed to Salina, Kansas to accept a pastorate. In 1881 he was a delegate to the Ecumenical Methodist Conference held in London and three years later was named a delegate to the Centennial Conference of American Methodism in Baltimore. Davis would later return to a pastorate in Baldwin City, where he died on June 22, 1893 at age 78. Memorialized for his eloquence and as a man whose "saintliness shone like a star", Davis was survived by his wife Minerva, who, following her death in 1897, was interred alongside her husband at the Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City.

Portrait courtesy of

From the Barton County Democrat, June 29, 1893.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Evertson Crosby Kindleberger (1875-1950)

Portrait from "the University of Pennsylvania: Its History, influence, Equipment...", Vol. II, 1902.

   A leading name in the New York bar during the early 20th century, Evertson Crosby Kindleberger practiced law for nearly fifty years and during that time held a number of important offices in New York City, including assistant corporation counsel to two NYC Mayors and deputy assistant district attorney beginning in 1910. Kindleberger earns a slot here on the site due to his 1912 candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's  14th congressional district. 
  Born in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 1875, E. Crosby Kindleberger was the son of Dr. David (1834-1921) and Mattie Lindsay Poor Kindleberger (1847-1898). A distinguished figure in his own right, David Kindleberger was a physician and Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. In the late 1870s, he served as Fleet Surgeon for the Asiatic Station and also gained prominence in California as a painter of landscapes, even having his work exhibited publically.
   E. Crosby Kindleberger's early education took place at the Columbian College Preparatory School in Washington and in 1891 enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. He would graduate in 1894 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and following his graduation continued law studies at that institution. He earned his law degree in 1897 and after further study in the offices of Davies, Stone and Auerbach was admitted to the New York bar in 1898.
   Following his resettlement in New York City, Kindleberger became active in Republican circles, "being engaged in the campaign service for McKinley in 1900." He would subsequently take to the stump at various times over the next decade, making a number of addresses for Republican candidates in the "25th assembly district." Kindleberger married in Philadelphia in June 1906 to Elisabeth Randall McIlvaine (1879-1959). The couple's fifty-three-year marriage would see the births of five children, Katherine Wirt (1905-1957), Mattie Lindsay (1908-1996), Charles Poor (1910-2003), Elizabeth Randall (1911-2003) and Mary Bolling (1914-1994). 
  In 1902 Kindleberger received the appointment as assistant corporation counsel for New York City, serving under Mayor Seth Low. He remained in that post until 1906, whereafter he was named as Deputy Assistant District Attorney for New York County, an office he'd be reappointed to in 1910. Kindleberger's tenure in that post saw him  
"Have charge of many cases in the higher courts, especially those against commercial swindlers. While in the District Attorney's office he conducted in the evening a free legal bureau for the benefit of the people of the east side.
 A member of the law firm of Kindleberger and Robinson, Kindleberger refrained from pursuing elective office until 1912, when he was sought out by Republicans to take on Democratic congressman William Sulzer (1863-1941), then running for re-election to a tenth term. Running as candidates in the newly drawn up 14th congressional district, Sulzer would eventually leave the contest due to receiving the nomination for Governor, whereafter Kindleberger's opponent became Jefferson M. Levy, who had been elected to Congress for a second term in 1911. Kindleberger's past experience as corporation counsel and deputy district attorney was touted through several campaign notices published in the New York Tribune, which noted that:
"He is an advocate of a strong navy, a properly framed protective tariff, and other positive views on public questions, which he will elaborate from the stump."

From the New York Tribune, September 16, 1912.

   As one of seven candidates vying for a congressional seat that year, Kindleberger not only had to contend with Levy's candidacy but also nominees from the Progressive, Socialist, Independence League and Prohibition party, amongst others. When the votes were tallied on November 5, 1912, it was Jefferson Levy who emerged victorious, garnering 8,950 votes. Kindleberger placed third (with 3,468 votes), with Progressive candidate Abraham Goodman running second with over 4,000 votes.
   While his congressional run ended in defeat, E. Crosby Kindleberger returned to government service in 1914 when he was again named as assistant corporation counsel, this time serving under Mayor John Purroy Mitchel (1879-1918). His second time in that office extended until 1918, whereafter he continued in the practice of law, being a member of the firms Townsend, Kindleberger and Townsend, and Kindleberger and Campbell. A founding member of the University of Pennsylvania Club and a longstanding member of the New York City Bar Association, Kindleberger retired from his law practice in 1942 and died at his home in Flushing, Queens on July 6, 1950, at age 74. He was survived by his wife and five children and was later cremated.

Kindleberger's obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1950.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Staats Gouverneur Burnet (1827-1888)

Portrait courtesy of

  Today marks a return to Iowa and another one of that state's oddly named legislators, Staats Gouverneur Burnet of Benton County. Born into a prominent Cincinnati, Ohio family on January 27, 1827, Staats G. Burnet was one of several children born to Isaac Gouverneur (1784-1856) and Keturah "Kitty" Winne Gordon Burnet. A distinguished figure in his own right, Isaac G. Burnet was a former Mayor of Cincinnati (serving from 1819-1831) and could count among his brothers two other men of wide repute, Jacob Burnet (1770-1853), a former U.S. Senator from Ohio, state supreme court justice and the author of Ohio's first state constitution, and David Gouverneur Burnet (1786-1870), who served as President, Vice-President and Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas. Truly an impressive political family!
  Being born into a family with impressive ancestry, Staats G. Burnet attended the Woodward High School in Cincinnati and following his graduation in 1844 began pursuing a career in law. He married on January 15, 1852, to Isabelle Adelia Bromwell (1834-1920), a native of Virginia. The couple would later have nine children, Edith (born 1853), William Bromwell (1854-1909), Arthur (1856-1927), Julia (1858-1930), Harry (1861-1909), Sarah Belle (1863-1865), Paul (born 1866), Margaret (1868-1960) and David Staats (1875-1882). Of these children, William Bromwell Burnet would follow his ancestors into public service, being U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio from 1886-89. 
   Following his admittance to the Ohio bar, Burnet practiced law in Cincinnati and in 1867 removed with his family to Benton County, Iowa. After establishing roots in Blairstown, Burnet farmed and became active in the Producer's Grange, No. 49, and would serve as its Master in 1871. The 1878 History of Benton County relates that prior to his election to the legislature Burnet held several local offices in Blairstown, and in 1873 received the nomination for Benton County's representative as a candidate of the Anti-Monopoly party. 
   Burnet won the election for the legislature in November 1873 and after taking his seat in January 1874 was named to the committees on Railroads, the State University, Suppression of Intemperance,  and Ways and Means. Burnet's term concluded in January 1876 and some years later removed back to Cincinnati, where he would reside with his son William. He would retire from the practice of law and died at his son's home on December 17, 1888, the cause of death being attributed to kidney trouble. Burnett was survived by his wife and children and was interred at Cincinnati's famed Spring Grove Cemetery. The fourth largest cemetery in the United States, Spring Grove is the resting place of many prominent Ohio political figures, including Salmon P. Chase, Alphonso Taft, Nicholas Longworth, George Hunt Pendleton, Henry Stanbery, John McLean, Stanley Mathews and Joseph Benson Foraker.

From the Indianapolis Journal, December 18, 1888.