From the 1957 Arkansas legislative composite photograph.
Espy Hillard "Ep" Weaver is another curiously named Arkansas legislator discovered recently, and, following the profiles on representatives Hastings DeJournette Avery and Phipps Brevard Hill, obscurity again prevails! While a longtime political office holder in Arkansas (serving as county clerk, sheriff, and judge), there are few details available on Weaver's life, hence why his profile here will be brief. The inconsistencies in the spelling of Weaver's first name are also a contributing factor, being spelled as Espy, Espie, Epsy, and Epsey. Weaver's headstone at the Mt. Moriah cemetery records it as "Espy", and as I consider the spelling on a person's gravestone to be the final arbiter in regards to spelling, it is that version given here.
The son of Dr. Joshua Wilson (1828-1906) and Mary Virginia "Mollie" (Culbreath) Weaver (1849-1914), Espy Hillard Weaver was born on December 9, 1889, in Mt. Moriah. Arkansas. Little information could be obtained in regards to Weaver's childhood, education, or early employment. Raised in Mt. Moriah, Weaver's education was obtained in schools local to that area and after reaching adolescence began a teaching career. He received his "first-grade certificate" in 1911 and for several years taught at various schools in the Nevada County area. "Ep" Weaver married Edna Cofield (1890-1974) on October 13, 1912. The couple were wed for nearly fifty years and had five children: Virginia, Mollie, Geneva, Field (born 1916), and Nell (1918-2001). In 1918 Weaver entered political life for the first time, announcing his candidacy for Nevada County circuit court clerk. He was profiled in a brief biographical column in the Prescott Daily News, which detailed:
"His qualifactions to discharge satisfactorily the duties of the clerk's office cannot be questioned, and when you cast your vote in the May primary, we ask that you give this excellent young gentleman your best consideration."
Though Weaver would lose that contest, he was undeterred and in 1922 again was a candidate for Nevada County circuit clerk. He proved successful at the polls and served from 1923-26. In 1928 he won election as county sheriff (serving a four-year term, 1929-33) and in 1935 entered into a two-year term as county judge. Little else is known of Weaver's life after 1937, excepting his successful run for the state legislature in 1956. He represented Nevada County for one term, 1957-59, and died in Arkansas on August 17, 1962, aged 72. He was survived by his wife Edna, and both were later interred at the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Rosston, Arkansas.
From the Hope Star, August 18, 1962.
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Several decades prior to Espy Weaver's birth another "Espy" made his entrance into national politics. That man was Espy Van Horne of Pennsylvania, certainly one of the most obscure congressmen on record. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1824, Van Horne served two terms (1825-1829) and died a few months after leaving office. Discovered via the Politicalgraveyard webpage back in 2000, Van Horne's obscurity has held strong for two decades time, with no portrait of him known to exist, and details on his life being at a minimum. Even his official congressional biography amounts to just two brief lines! Born in 1795 in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, Espy Van Horne attended school at "Long Bridge under Sinking Creek", studying under Jonathan Kearsley. At an unknown date, Van Horne was admitted to practice law and later was acknowledged as "a lawyer of considerable distinction" in his region. He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives in October 1824, polling over 7,000 votes. He would win a second term in October 1826 (this time polling over 9,000 votes) and served until March 1829. He died five months later on August 25, 1829, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A burial location for Van Horne remains unknown at this time.