Friday, November 30, 2018

Eliada Sanford Merrell (1820-1898)

Portrait from the History of Lewis County, New York, 1883.

  Just a few days following a write up on Lewis County, New York assemblyman Rutson Rea, an oddly named contemporary of his receives a profile, Eliada Sanford Merrell. A former District Attorney of Lewis County and county judge for over a decade, Merrell served in the latter office at the same time Rutson Rea sat in the state assembly (1886). The son of Seth and Mabel (Sanford) Merrell, Eliada Sanford Merrell was born on November 21, 1820, in Schoharie County, New York. In addition to Eliada Sanford, the Merrell family also boasted another prominent political figure, his younger brother Nathaniel Anson Merrell (1829-1896), a resident of De Witt, Iowa. Following his removal to that city, Nathaniel Merrell was elected as its mayor and served multiple terms in both the Iowa house of representatives and senate between 1872 and 1896.
   Removing with his family to Copenhagen, New York while still a child, Eliada Merrell worked his family's farm during his youth and studied at various schools in the Lewis and Jefferson County area, including the Denmark High School, the Lowville Academy, and the Black River Literary and Religious Institute in Watertown. After deciding upon a career in law in the early 1840s Merrell began to study in the offices of Ruger and Moore in Watertown, and continued his studies in Lowville and Lyons Falls, reading under New York state senator and Lewis County judge Francis Seger in the latter town.
   Admitted to the state bar in 1846, Eliada Merrell began his law practice in Copenhagen and married in June 1850 to Emeline Anderson Clark (1821-1904). The couple's forty-eight-year marriage saw the births of two sons, Lorenzo Eliada (1851-1862) and Edgar Sanford Keene Merrell (1865-1942). Of these children, Edgar S.K. Merrell would follow his father into law, serving as Lewis County judge from 1903-09 and was elected to the New York State Supreme Court in November 1909. In the years following his son's births, Merrell would relocate his practice to Lowville, where he continued to reside until his death.
  Eliada S. Merrell made his first entrance into Lewis County politics in November 1850 when he was a successful candidate for Lewis County District Attorney, besting Edward A. Brown by a vote of 1,942 to 1,619. He would continue in that post until November 1856, when he was defeated by Henry Turner, and in November 1867 was again elected to that office, serving from 1868-70.

Judge Merrell's home in Lowville.

   After several years away from county politics, Eliada Merrell was returned to public office in November 1874 when he was elected to a six-year term as County Judge and Surrogate for Lewis County. He would win a second term in November 1880 and served until January 1, 1887. A member of the Trinity Episcopal Church following his judgeship, Merrell "took a deep interest" in the affairs of that church until his death at his Lowville home on Independence Day 1898. The Watertown Herald attributes Merrell's death to pneumonia, which he had come down with ten days prior. He was survived by his wife and son Edgar, all of whom were interred in the Merrell family plot at the Lowville Rural Cemetery

From the Watertown Daily Times, July 5, 1898.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Younger Lovelace Power (1907-1958)

From the Ilion Sentinel, March 1, 1952.

  Following on the heels of Ballston Spa mayor Purcell Dow Ball, another curiously named New York mayor receives a write-up, Younger Lovelace Power of Ilion. A transplant to Herkimer County, New York from Virginia, Power was a physician and served as Ilion's mayor for three terms. The son of Edward O. and Mattie S. Power, Younger Lovelace Power was born in Virginia in 1907. His early life was spent in Staunton in Pittsylvania County, and after deciding upon a career in medicine enrolled at the Medical College of Virginia, graduating in the class of 1932
   Following his graduation, Younger L. Power interned at the Hazleton State Hospital in Pennsylvania in 1933 and during his residency married in that city on January 17, 1934, to Cleo L. Boock (1911-1954). The couple later had two children, Mary Susan (born in 1935 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania) and Younger Lovelace Jr. (born in 1936). Of these children, Mary Susan Power would go on to a distinguished career as a political scientist, and in 1972, 1976 and 1988 was an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention from Arkansas.
  Power resettled in Ilion in Herkimer County, New York in the mid-1930s, and was a physician at the Ilion Hospital, as well as chief company physician for the Remington Arms Co. factory, also located in Ilion. Power would become active in the affairs of his community and after more than a decade of residence in the town entered into the race for Ilion mayor in early 1948. That March Power defeated Republican candidate L.H. Burnham by a vote of 1,535 to 1,343, and in an Ilion Sentinel notice on his election, Power outlined his ideas for a successful, people-centric mayoralty:
"This is the way I feel about it. We are handling taxpayers' money and for that reason no individual should take any final decisions upon himself in regards to finances or other important matters...If things go wrong, lets not get off in a corner somewhere and growl about it. Let's bring it up here and thrash it out. There is no reason why we can't make Ilion an even better place to live in. I'm proud to live here now and I think we can make Ilion the best town in northern New York."
  Dr. Y.L. Power's first term as mayor saw a resolution passed that increased the mayoral term from one year to two and launched his re-election bid in February 1949, running against Republican town trustee Frank Sheffield. In the lead up to the March election, the Power administration could boast of a number of betterments for the town, including a workable plumbing code, as well as:
"Functioning water softenings and sewage disposal plants, new street signs; considerable new rolling equipment for the Street department; a new Street department garage; new street lights; extension of Elm Street and South Fifth Avenue and a study of the storm water sewer system with the idea for improvements."
  In early March Power defeated Sheffield by a vote of 1,950 to 1,447, in a contest described in the Herkimer Evening Telegram as "the heaviest village election in recent years."

From the Ilion Sentinel, February 24, 1949.

  Power's second term as mayor extended until 1951, and during this term, he and the village of Ilion played host to the Northern New York Methodist Conference in May 1950, a conference that saw the arrival of several hundred delegates, which in turn provided a boost to the local economy. He would win a third term as mayor in March 1951 and served until 1953, not being a candidate for reelection. 
  One year after leaving the mayor's office Power was dealt a severe blow with the death of his wife Cleo at the age of just 42, her death occurring in March 1954 "after a long illness." Power was dealt a further blow in August 1956 when he was involved in a two-car accident near Dolgeville, New York that necessitated a few days recuperation at Ilion Hospital. Younger L. Power died suddenly at his Ilion home on March 4, 1958, aged 50. An exact burial location for him remains unknown at this time but likely is at the Armory Hill Cemetery in Ilion, the resting place of his wife Cleo.

Mayor Power at a board of trustees meeting, from the Ilion Sentinel, March 1, 1951. 

From the Hazleton Plain Speaker, March 5, 1958.

From the Utica Observer, March 8, 1958.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Purcell Dow Ball (1892-1968)

From the Schenectady Gazette, December 20, 1968.

  Obscure Saratoga County, New York resident Purcell Dow Ball served one term as mayor of the village of Ballston Spa in the mid-1940s, having never before been active politically. Following his term, he served as a Ballston Spa village trustee for several years. The son of Simon and Carrie (Becker) Ball, Purcell Dow Ball was born on December 28, 1892, in Albany, New York. Little is known of Ball's early life and education and by 1919 had resettled in Saratoga County, New York.
  Purcell D. Ball married in November 1919 in Saratoga to Ada G. Green, who would survive him upon his death in 1968. The couple had two children, including a son, William J. Purcell Ball and his wife would remove to Ballston Spa following their marriage, where Purcell would work at farming, and later was employed by the American Hide and Leather Co., where he would be a foreman in the business's shipping department.
  After decades of residence in Ballston Spa, Purcell D. Ball was drafted into local politics for the first time in March 1945 when he was named as the mayoral candidate for the newly established Citizens' Party. On March 20th Ball and the Citizen's Party emerged victorious at the polls, defeating six-year Republican incumbent Wright Scidmore by a vote of 812 to 784.
  Early in his mayoralty Ball assumed the role of honorary chairman of the Ballston Spa spring clean up campaign, and in April 1945 issued a village-wide proclamation upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, declaring April 14 to be a day of mourning, and that "all business places be closed" during the hours of the president's funeral. Ball's term as mayor concluded in 1947 and in 1950 was appointed as a member of the board of village trustees, filling a vacancy. He would serve in that capacity into the mid-1950s and in 1951 held the additional office of sewer commissioner for the village.

From the Saratogian, February 17, 1949.

  Purcell Ball retired from the American Hide and Leather Co. in 1955 and continued to reside in Ballston Spa until his death at the Benedict Memorial Hospital in that village on December 18, 1968, ten days short of his 76th birthday. He was survived by his wife and children and was later buried at the Powell-Wiswall Cemetery in West Milton, Saratoga County, New York.

From the December 20, 1968 Schenectady Gazette. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Rutson Rea (1816-1895)

Portrait from the History of Lewis County, New York, 1883.

  One of a vast number of curiously named men who were elected to the New York State Assembly during the 19th century, Rutson Rea was a two-term member of that body who for many years was a leading produce dealer and farmer in Lewis County, being the owner of over three thousand acres of farmland. A lifelong New Yorker, Rutson Rea was born in Columbia County on March 17, 1816, the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Hoisradt) Rea. Young Rutson would relocate to Lewis County with his family at age seven and, following settlement in the village of Turin, attended the common schools of that area. He resided upon his family's farm until age 23 and, after receiving a four hundred dollar gift from his father, went out into the world.
  Using his father's monetary gift, Rea purchased fifty acres of land in Turin that he would farm and in 1840 married Clarissa A. Clark (1818-1908), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have one daughter, Amelia Francis Rea (1844-1869). Following his marriage, Rea continued to reside and farm in Turin until 1852 when he sold his property and purchased a farm in Lowville, where he also bought and sold butter and cheese.  
  After three years residency at that location, Rea purchased another farm in Lowville that he would continue to operate for decades afterward. By the mid-1880s, Rea would own "thirty-five hundred acres of improved farming land", as well as city property, and beginning in the early 1850s entered into dealing produce. The 1883 History of Lewis County further relates that Rea operated a steam mill and also sold flour and seeds. He would find additional business distinction in Lowville with his service as a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Lowville in 1860, and later held the presidency of the Black River Bank.
  Rutson Rea's political career began at the local level, serving as a village trustee, township supervisor of Lowville from 1864-65, and town assessor for several terms. In 1885 he was nominated by the Lewis County Republican establishment for the New York State Assembly and later won the election by a plurality of 787. His service in the 1886 session saw him named to the committees on Agriculture, Charitable and Religious Societies, and Villages, and later that year was "reelected by a plurality of 1,950". 
  At the conclusion of his second term, Rea returned to his farming and business interests in Lowville, being the owner of "about 20 farms in Lewis County" and had a personal worth of nearly $100,000. Unfortunately for Rea, in 1892 a vast majority of his wealth was wiped out due to land depreciation. This substantial loss not only caused Rea emotional distress but also compelled him to give up his produce business. For several weeks prior to his death Rea experienced weakening health, and he died at his home in Lowville on July 7, 1895, aged 79. He was survived by his wife Clarissa, and following her death at age 90 in 1908 was interred alongside her husband under a substantial obelisk at the Lowville Rural Cemetery.

From the Rome Evening Citizen, July 8, 1895.

From the Johnstown Daily Republican, 1895.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thiemann Scott Offutt (1872-1943)

Portrait from the Distinguished Men of Baltimore and Maryland, 1914.

  A leading attorney and jurist in Maryland during the first half of the 20th century, Thiemann Scott Offutt logged over two decades of service as a judge on Maryland's Third Judicial Circuit Court as well as the State Court of Appeals. The son of William Scott and Henrietta (Baker) Offutt, Thiemann Scott Offutt was born on his family's farm in Montgomery, Maryland on June 12, 1872. Bestowed the curious name "Thiemann" upon his birth, the origins behind Offutt's first name remain unknown at the time of this writing.  
  Recorded by most sources under the abbreviated name "T. Scott", Offutt's early education was obtained in the public schools of Montgomery County and in 1891 enrolled at the University of Virginia. He studied here until 1893 and also attended St. John's College in Annapolis. Offutt would study law in Towson, Maryland under the tutelage of a cousin, Milton Offutt, and was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1898. He began his practice with Milton Offutt shortly after his admittance to the bar and in October 1903 married to Lydia Traill Yellott (1873-1969) in Towson. The couple's marriage extended forty years and had three children, John Yellott (1905-1940), Thiemann Scott Jr. (1907-1976), and Mary Traill (1908-1958).
   Following the dissolution of the law partnership with his cousin, T. Scott Offutt established a law practice with his father-in-law John Israel Yellott and a brother-in-law, Osborne Ingle Yellott (1871-1922). In addition to having an odd name, Osborne I. Yellott would also attain prominence in Maryland politics, being a one-term state representative from 1894-95 and later was a photography critic and state employment commissioner. This partnership would also dissolve after several years, whereafter Offutt continued to practice alone. 
  Offutt made his first foray into Maryland politics in 1913, when he was elected to the board of county commissioners for Baltimore County. He would serve here from 1914 to 1920 and during his tenure authored Offutt's Code of Local Laws of Baltimore County, a work later acknowledged as "one of great value for the lower courts of the county." After two decades of practicing law, Offutt was tapped by then-Governor Albert Ritchie in 1920 to fill a vacancy on the Maryland Circuit Court of Appeals, this vacancy coming about due to the resignation of Chief Justice Nicholas Charles Burke.
  Taking his seat on the bench in March of that year, Offutt would serve as Chief Judge of the Third Circuit, while additionally serving as an associate judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. In 1921 Offutt was elected to a full fifteen-year term on the bench and in 1923 began a year-long term as President of the Maryland Bar Association. In 1936 Offutt was reappointed to the court by Governor Harry Whinna Nice and two years later won reelection, serving on the bench until retiring in 1942, having reached the mandatory retirement age of seventy. 
 T. Scott Offutt's final years as a judge were marred by impaired health, having suffered a stroke in 1940. This stroke forced Offutt to become "partially invalidid" and "prevented him from doing further legal work." Offutt would also experience personal tragedy in the same year as his stroke, suffering the death of his eldest son Jon in a drowning accident at Ocean City, Maryland. 

Judge Offutt as he appeared late in his court tenure.

  During his twenty-two-year tenure on the Maryland bench, Offutt garnered the reputation as a "prodigious worker" and was acknowledged by his fellow justices as having been "one of the most informed members of the Appellate Court of his generation." Active in a number of other non-judicial areas, Offutt was an avid horseman, tennis player, golfer, and held memberships in the Towson Elks Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Masons of Maryland, where he was a past grand senior warden. 
  Despite the debilitating effects of his stroke, Offutt retained his mental faculties and following retirement from the bench frequently followed sporting events on the radio and in newspapers. Thiemann Scott Offutt died at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Christmas Eve 1943, aged 71. His wife Lydia survived him by over twenty years, and following her death at age 93 was interred alongside her husband at the Prospect Hill Park Cemetery in Towson.

From the Salisbury Times, December 27, 1943.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Nutter Jerome Wimbrow Sr. (1867-1957)

Portrait from the Snow Hill Democrat Messenger, October 11, 1951.

   What isn't humorous about the first name Nutter? Lifelong Maryland resident Nutter Jerome Wimbrow packed an incredible amount of activity into his near nine decades of life, being at various times a grocer, general store owner, banker, one-term state representative, and member of the Maryland state athletic commission. The son of Moses Nutter and Laura Ann (Ward) Wimbrow, Nutter Jerome Wimbrow was born in Worcester County, Maryland on October 5, 1867. His early life was spent in the Salisbury, Maryland area and at an early age entered into the grocery business in that city, continuing until his removal to Whaleyville, also in Worcester County.
  Following his relocation to Whaleyville, Wimbrow founded a "large general store" that he would continue to run until several years prior to his death. In addition to that store, Wimbrow was engaged in a number of other business ventures throughout his long life, including the operation of a sawmill. Wimbrow also went into business with his brothers Robert Stansbury and Peter Ayres, and this business, the Petey Manufacturing Co., manufactured strawberry crates, and peach and tomato baskets. This business also saw the brothers have substantial lumber holdings which they later expanded "into the southern states." Wimbrow is also noted in his 1957 obituary as having operated a tomato canning plant for a time.
  Nutter J. Wimbrow married in Maryland in 1892 to Sallie Mary Dale (1873-1951), to whom he was wed for nearly sixty years. The couple's lengthy union saw the births of three children, Peter Dale (1895-1954), Madge (born 1899), and Nutter Jerome Jr. (1910-1983). Of these children, Peter Dale Wimbrow would find success in radio, writing, and music, being the composer of several popular songs during the 1920s and later founded the Indian River News, which ceased publication in 1966. 
  Wimbrow made his first run for the Maryland House of Delegates in 1899, running on the Prohibition platform while also being endorsed by the Republicans. Though he would lose that election, he again made a legislative run in 1915 (this time as a candidate of the People's Party) and was this time successful. Serving in the 1916-18 session, Wimbrow would be named to the committees on Immigration and Ways and Means.

From the Salisbury Times, August 4, 1936.

  Following his one term in the house, Wimbrow returned to his business interests in Whaleyville and engaged in banking, being a director of the Calvin B. Taylor Bank of Berlin, Maryland, and was president of the Truckers and Savings Bank of Pittsfield, retiring from that post in January 1954. He returned to public office in 1936 when he was appointed by Governor Harry Whinna Nice as a member of the Maryland State Athletic Commission, a body responsible for overseeing boxing and wrestling events in the state. Wimbrow served on the commission until 1941, being succeeded by Baltimore resident Robert Sindell.
  Nutter J. Wimbrow continued to be active in the affairs of his county well into his eighties, and his 84th and 85th birthdays received front-page mention in the Snow Hill Democratic Messenger. Widowed in 1951, Nutter Jerome Wimbrow died at his son Nutter's home in Whaleyville on September 15, 1957, a few weeks shy of his 90th birthday. Both he and his wife Sallie were interred at the Dale Cemetery in Worcester County.

From the Salisbury Times.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Eri Cogswell Oakes (1883-1931)

Portrait from the Granite State Monthly, 1913.

  A leading lawyer in Lancaster, New Hampshire during his brief life, Eri Cogswell Oakes was a delegate to the New Hampshire Constitutional Convention of 1912, and four years prior to his death was appointed as an associate judge of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. Sadly Oakes would take his own life via gunshot in 1931, a few days following his arrest for drunken driving and less than a day after his resignation from the bench. Born in Lisbon, New Hampshire on July 12, 1883, Eri Cogswell Oakes was the son of Eri and Ellen Sarah (Cogswell) Oakes.
  A student in the public schools of Lisbon, Oakes decided upon a career in law and in the early 1900s enrolled at the New York University Law School. Graduating in the class of 1904, Oakes would practice in both Lisbon and Littleton, New Hampshire prior to his permanent removal to Lancaster in Coos County in 1912. In short order, Oakes would join Lancaster's leading law firm of Shurtliff and Morris and later was admitted as a partner.
  In the year of his resettlement in Lancaster Oakes was elected as a delegate to the New Hampshire Constitutional Convention, which was to convene in Concord in June 1912. Oakes' time at the convention saw him named to the committees of the Whole, as well as the Judicial Department, and at the completion of the proceedings returned to his law practice in Lancaster.
  Eri C. Oakes married in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1916 to Katherine Florence Sawin (1887-1926), and the couple would have one daughter, Mabel (1919-1998). In March 1927 Oakes was appointed by then-Governor John Winant as an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, a court tenure that would have extended until Oakes reached seventy years of age in 1953. 
  Oakes would serve on the bench until September 1931, and on September 13th of that year was involved in a one-vehicle car accident in Milton, New Hampshire. On that night the car Oakes had been driving lost control and careened into a telephone pole. Following police arrival on the scene, Oakes was found to be intoxicated and was soon after taken to the local police station. Here Oakes' identity was confirmed and he was remarked in the Nashua Telegraph as having struggled with police following his arrest, even striking a member of the Rochester police force. Despite his tussling with law enforcement, Oakes' status as a superior court judge worked out in his favor, as he was released soon afterward, "no charges preferred." After his release, the particulars of Oakes' accident hit the headlines of several New Hampshire newspapers, and by September 17th state motor vehicle commissioner John Griffin had contacted Oakes to inform him that his driver's license had been revoked, "for reasons deemed good and sufficient."
  In the days following the accident Oakes briefly returned to his judicial duties and on September 18th sent his letter of resignation to Governor Winant. Just a few hours after sending this letter, Oakes placed an emotional telephone call to Dr. William Leith, a physician, and longtime friend, and following the phone call shot himself in the head with a pistol, his body being discovered by Dr. Leith in the bedroom of Oakes' home. In addition to a pistol found near the body, Leith also found two letters, one addressed to Oakes' daughter Mabel and the other addressed to Leith himself. 
   The news of Judge Oakes' suicide spread quickly through Lancaster and in the days following was headline news in the Nashua Telegraph, amongst other newspapers. His death also complicated a case in which he had been presiding over, involving a $70,000 suit against the city of Nashua by the Cunningham Burdwood Company for breach of contract. While he may have ended his life in such bleak circumstances Oakes was memorialized as a dedicated attorney and leading state jurist, his funeral being attended by members of the state supreme court, superior court, and many other prominent public figures. He was later interred alongside his wife Katherine at the Summer Street Cemetery in Lancaster.

From the Nashua Telegraph, September 18, 1931.

Nashua Telegraph, September 21, 1931.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Eralsey Clark Ferguson (1892-1967)

From the 1955 New Hampshire State Register and Manual.

   There were few men more prominent in New Hampshire politics in the 1950s than Eralsey Clark Ferguson, a Merrimack County resident who served eight years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and two terms in the state senate, holding the position of Senate president in the 1957-58 session. Ferguson would go on to be a Republican candidate for Governor in 1958 and later served three years as chairman of the New Hampshire Milk Control Board. Truly a man of political distinction! A native of Michigan, Eralsey Clark Ferguson was born in Detroit on October 5, 1892, the son of John Gilbert and Mary (Clark) Ferguson.
  Relocating to New England with his family at a young age, Eralsey Ferguson would be a student in the Brookline, Massachusetts school system, and in the early 1910s enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Graduating in the class of 1916,  Ferguson was granted the opportunity to go overseas as an English and history teacher shortly after leaving Amherst, and for a period taught at the American Mission School in Madera, India. Following his return stateside, Ferguson removed to New York City to take work at the National City Bank, and after a brief period in their employ returned to Massachusetts, where he worked for a short time in the Bethlehem Shipbuilding yard in Squantum. Ferguson married in Newton, Massachusetts in October 1918 to Gertrude Zeiss (1894-1956), to whom he was wed for over thirty years. The couple would have two daughters, Elizabeth Clark (1919-1993) and Nancy. 
   Following a stint as a leather salesman in Boston, Eralsey Ferguson decided to go into business for himself, and in 1920 established a shoe shop in the city of Lynn. By 1924 he had relocated his shop to New Hampshire, and after "combining forces" with an existing shoe factory in Pittsfield sold his business prior to the stock market crash of 1929. After leaving that business, Ferguson took work as a bond salesman with the Chase Security Corp., and later the H.M Sawyer and Sons rainwear manufacturing company of Cambridge. He would purchase an interest in the last-named business and after selling out in 1941 returned with his family to Pittsfield, New Hampshire, where he had kept a home for a number of years prior. 
   After his return to Pittsfield Ferguson worked at farming and first entered the political life of that town in the early 1930s, winning election as a town selectman. He would serve in that capacity from 1933-35 and later was elected as Pittsfield's delegate to the New Hampshire Constitutional Convention that was to be held in May 1948. The 1948 election year proved to be an important year for Ferguson, and in that same year announced his candidacy for a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. In November 1948 Ferguson and fellow Pittsfield Republican E. Harold Young defeated their Democratic opponents and in January 1949 took their seats.
  In addition to various committee assignments during his freshman year in the house, Ferguson was profiled in a substantial write up in the June 16, 1949 edition of the Nashua Telegraph, where he was interviewed about the inner workings of the legislature from the vantage point of a freshman representative. Amongst comments regarding committee work and certain representatives being "specialists in their field", Ferguson would relate that
"I entered this legislature as a freshman with some pre-conceived notions as to what I would find. I have been more than pleased as to what I have learned. The house is not run by a small clique. It is a body of rugged individuals with minds of their own who decide questions for the most part on their merits."
From the Nashua Telegraph, June 26, 1949.

   Ferguson would win a second term in the statehouse in November 1950 and during the 1951-53 session earned the nickname "Frugal Fergie" due to his opposition to a house resolution that aimed to "give legislators, governor, and council a daily newspaper of their choice at state expense of $2,900". Ferguson's efforts against the resolution eventually paid off, and the resolution wasn't passed. Following his successful campaign for a third house term in 1952, Ferguson announced his candidacy for the New Hampshire state senate in mid-1954, and in the September Republican primary won the election, defeating Andrew Nicoll by a vote of 1,717 to 1,096. On general election day in November, Ferguson won out at the polls, besting Democrat Edgar Bellerose by over 800 votes
  Taking his Senate seat in January 1955, Ferguson later won a second Senate term in 1956 and in that same year was elected by his fellow senators as Senate president, serving in that role until 1958. This term would also see Ferguson announce his candidacy for Governor of New Hampshire in May 1957, running on a "pro sales tax platform." In early 1958 he further detailed his platform, proposing:
  • A two percent sales tax with liberal exemptions, to raise an estimated minimum of $10,000,000 
  • Repeal of a $5 head tax
  • Repeal of the tax on livestock
  • Repeal of the stock in trade tax

From the Farmington News, May 2, 1957.

  Ferguson's gubernatorial aspirations were dashed in September 1958 when he lost out in the Republican primary, polling just 1,162 votes against winning candidate Wesley Powell's total of 39,761. Powell, in turn, would go on to win the governorship that November, and later served two terms, leaving office in 1963. 
  Following his defeat for Governor, Eralsey Ferguson served as chairman of the state Milk Control Board from 1959-1962 and ran for a fourth term in the New Hampshire legislature in 1960, but was defeated. He fared better in the 1962 election year and would hold his seat from 1963-65, afterward removing to Scottsdale, Arizona. Widowed in 1956, Ferguson remarried a year later to Madeline Dane (1901-1975), who would survive him upon his death, which occurred in Scottsdale on November 25, 1967. He was later cremated and returned to Pittsfield for burial at the Floral Park Cemetery.

From the Farmington News, November 30, 1967.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rotheus Edson Bartlett (1841-1924), Rotheus Hayward Mitchell (1823-1891)

Portrait courtesy of

  The vast annals of the New Hampshire legislature yield another unusual name in Rotheus Edson Bartlett, a Sullivan County resident who served over twenty years as a Newport town selectman and was also elected to the state house of representatives for one term at the turn of the 20th century. The son of Parker and Eleanor Bartlett, Rotheus Edson Bartlett was born in New Boston, New Hampshire on May 10, 1841.
   A student at the New Boston and Francestown Academy, Bartlett signed on for service in the Civil War in August 1862, enlisting in Co. C, 11th New Hampshire Infantry. This regiment would see action at the battles of Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, the siege of Tennessee, and the eventual capture of Petersburg, Virginia. Bartlett, however, would, "owing to exceptional reliability", be consigned to "headquarters work a good deal of the time". Bartlett was honorably discharged in June 1865 and two years later married to Emma J. Merrill (1840-1927), to who he was wed for nearly sixty years. The couple would have at least three children, including two daughters who died in infancy and a son, the Rev. Ernest Merrill Bartlett (1870-1905)
  Following their marriage, Bartlett and his family resided on a farm in North Newport, New Hampshire, and in the early 1890s made his first move into local politics, winning election to the town board of selectmen. He would serve ten years here, and in 1902 was returned to the board, serving consecutive terms until 1908, and from 1914-1920 again was a selectman. Elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives as one of several Sullivan County legislators in 1898, Bartlett served in the 1899-1901 session and during his term sat on a special committee for "new apportionment for the assessment of public taxes."
  In addition to his service in local political office Bartlett was a trustee of the Sugar River Savings Bank and in 1898 became a deacon in the Newport Congregational Church. In the late 1900s, Bartlett would hold the post of road agent and Newport town school board member, serving for an indeterminate length of time. Rotheus Bartlett died in Newport of heart failure on June 4, 1924, aged 83 and was survived by his wife Emma, who, following her death in 1927 was interred alongside her husband and son Ernest at the North Newport Cemetery

From the New Hampshire Argus and Spectator, June 13, 1924.

Portrait courtesy of Find-a-Grave.

  The holder of several local political offices in Story County, Iowa, Rotheus Hayward Mitchell was a transplant to that state from Grafton County, New Hampshire. Elected to multiple terms as county surveyor, Mitchell earns placement here on the site due to his election as Judge of Story County in 1865. The son of Horatio and Mary (Ames) Mitchell, Rotheus Hayward Mitchell was born in Lyme, New Hampshire on January 23, 1823.
  Descended from a family who could trace their lineage back to the Pilgrims, Mitchell removed with his family from New Hampshire to New York in 1836 and would attend the St. Lawrence Academy in Potsdam, New York. He learned the trade of millwright during his youth and also began a teaching career that he would follow during the winter months. He married in New York in 1854 to Berintha R. Mott (1827-1864), and the couple's union remained childless.
  In 1856 Mitchell and his wife removed to Story County, Iowa, and within a short period had been appointed as its deputy county surveyor. He would win election as county surveyor the following year, and it would be the first of many times Mitchell would occupy that post. All told he held that office for four terms through 1865, and again from 1874 until his death in 1891. In 1865 he was elected as Judge of Story County and served until 1870.
  Tragedy struck Mitchell in 1864 with the death of his wife Berintha, and in 1866 remarried to Hannah Bixby (1848-1924), who would survive him. The couple had two children, Mary Berintha (1867-1875) and Clara Maria (died in infancy in 1870). He would win reelection as county surveyor in 1874, and in addition to being active in the affairs of the state agricultural college, had a "special fondness for collecting historical books." Mitchell died in Nevada, Iowa on May 15, 1891, at age 68, and was interred at the Nevada Municipal Cemetery.