Thursday, December 31, 2020

Warrington Karthaus Lavake Warwick (1862-1897)

Portrait from the Theta Beta Phi, 1898.

   Through a year of Coronavirus uncertainty, pronounced political disagreement, and a genuine feeling of apprehension, 2020 comes to a close today at midnight. In a small amount of positivity in an otherwise uncertain year comes the unveiling of our 2020 Strangest Name of The Year. Since 2013 the final article of the year is devoted to an especially odd named figure, and Massillon, Ohio's own Warrington Karthaus Lavake Warwick is this year's honoree. Despite his death at the age of just 34, Warwick carved a notable career for himself in Ohio, being the executive of three coal companies, among other business interests. Warwick earns placement here on the site due to his being a delegate to the 1892 Democratic National Convention from Ohio, and for his service on the state Democratic Executive Committee.
  Warrington Karthaus Lavake was born in Massillon, Ohio on December 23, 1862, the son of Lewis Lavake (1813-1864) and the former Maria E. Karthaus (1830-1918). Widowed in November 1864, Maria Karthaus LaVake remarried in 1865 to John George Warwick (1830-1892), a leading figure in Stark County. A man with vast business holdings in the Buckeye State, Warwick was elected to one term as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, serving from 1884-86. In 1890 he defeated then-incumbent Congressman (and future President) William McKinley for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Warwick served until his death in August 1892, dying in Washington, D.C.
  After his mother's marriage to John G. Warwick, Warrington Karthaus LaVake took his stepfather's last name and was legally adopted by the future Congressman. He would attend the Massillon public schools and at age 13 enrolled at the Nazareth Hall School in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. He graduated two years later and beginning in 1878 studied at the Harcourt School in Gambier, Ohio. Upon graduation in 1880 he enrolled at the Kenyon College in Gambier, where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He remained connected to his old fraternity throughout his life, and in his final years was a trustee for the General Fraternity of Beta Theta Phi.
  Warwick left Kenyon College in his sophomore year to join his stepfather's office, and until John Warwick's death in 1892 he remained his "confidential assistant and the real manager of all his extensive business interests." Warwick married in Pittsburg in 1885 to Jessie Moore Gillespie, to who he was wed until his death. The couple had one son, John Gillespie Warwick (1886-1937).
  Beginning in the 1880s Warrington Warwick entered Democratic politics in Stark County, being named chairman of a Young Democrats meeting at Bammerlin's Hall in Massillon. He was later selected as president of that organization, named the "Paige Guards." In 1889 his name was prominently mentioned for the Ohio state senate from the Stark-Carroll County district. In the year following he was elected as a delegate to the Ohio Democratic State Convention and took an active role in his stepfather's campaign for Congress against six-term incumbent William McKinley. That November John G. Warwick stymied the future president's bid for reelection, besting him 20,059 votes to 19,757. Warrington Warwick's "tact and general popularity were of the greatest assistance" during this period and were acknowledged in his Beta Theta Phi memorial, which notes they "contributed largely to the successful result of his father's campaign." Sources also denote W.K.L. Warwick as a member of the Ohio State Democratic Executive Committee, but no mention is given as to his dates of service.
  Following his service as a delegate to the Stark County Democratic Convention of 1892, W.K.L. Warwick was elected as part of the Ohio delegation to that year's Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Representing the state's 18th district, Warwick and fellow delegate John C. Welty may have been Democrats but were ultimately opposed to the nomination of Grover Cleveland, with the Stark County Democrat noting:
"In this district there was a most decided fight between the Cleveland and Anti-Cleveland Democrats in the selection of delegates and the most pronounced ant-Cleveland victory, both Warwick and Welty being opposed to any man from New York."
 Warwick's sentiments toward a New York presidential nominee later changed, with his coming out as "an ardent admirer" of New York Governor David Bennett Hill. After Cleveland's nomination, Warwick was interviewed by the Massillonian, where he noted:
"Stark County Democrats never sulk...and we are solid for the ticket as nominated. Stark County will be at the front this fall with an increased Democratic majority. Of course Ohio is a Republican state, but we will worry them considerably before the election is over. The nomination of Stevenson for second place is highly satisfactory to the New York delegation, and to Hill men in this state as well. He is our kind of a Democrat, and will greatly strengthen the ticket throughout the country. I think this is a Democratic year, and confidently expect the election of Cleveland and Stevenson."

  Just weeks following his time at the Democratic National Convention Warwick suffered the death of his stepfather John, who died in Washington, D.C. In the days following John G. Warwick's passing, W.K.L Warwick was bolstered to fill his vacant seat in Congress, with the Stark County Democrat noting "it would be a gracious and fitting testimonial to the memory of Gov. Warwick to elect his very worthy son, W.K.L Warwick, to fill out the unexpired term."

From the Stark County Democrat, September 1, 1892.

  Ultimately, it was at the instigation of Warwick's friends that his name was bolstered as a candidate, and in November special election it was Lewis P. Ohlinger (a former Wooster postmaster) who won the vacant seat. Upon the death of his stepfather, W.K.L. Warwick succeeded him as president in the former's business interests. Until his own death in 1897 he was the president and treasurer of the Warwick Coal Co., was president of the Upper Pigeon Run Coal Co., was president of the Massillon Savings and Banking Co., and was a founding organizer of the Massillon Social Club. Warwick would be a partner in the firm of Warwick and Justus, a Massillon flour milling concern, and in the 1890s served as vice president and member of the Board of Directors for the Stark County Democrat newspaper

From the Northwestern Miller, Vol. 43.

  Warwick remained active in his business interests until his death. In the months prior to his death, his health began to fail, and by March 1897 had relocated to Hot Springs, Arkansas in the hopes of improving his condition. He died there on March 15, aged 34, his cause of death being attributed to "bowel trouble." The death of Warwick was heavily felt in Massillon and at his alma mater Kenyon College. Remarked as a man who possessed "many charming qualities of character", The Northwestern Miller further memorialized Warwick as:
"A man who could make a lifelong friend of a casual acquaintence, and, while in business circles, he was respected for his ability and honesty, he was loved by all and by people in every path of life for his many manly qualities and his own true worth."

 Following funeral arrangements, Warwick was interred in his family's mausoleum at the Massillon City Cemetery and was survived by his wife and son John.

From the Coshocton Democratic Standard, March 19, 1897. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Zoid Zephyr Morgan (1887-1966), Zoyd Martin Flaler (1904-1999)

From the Akron Beacon Herald, March 5, 1966.

   Sporting what can only be described as a very space-age sounding name, Zoid Zephyr Morgan was a lifelong Ohioan who first entered politics at age 68, winning the first of two terms as mayor of Seville. A popular figure in Medina County, Morgan was, in addition to his mayoralty, a gas company superintendent, Boy Scout leader, educational leader, and a professional photographer. Born in Shreve, Ohio on April 26, 1887, Zoid Zephyr Morgan was the son of Frank L. (1865-1896) and Ella (Bonham) Morgan (1871-1932).
  The backstory behind Morgan's unusual name remains unknown, but in the context of 1887 (the year of his birth), his name can certainly be described as futuristic! His early life was spent in the town of his birth and attended Shreve high school. Following graduation, he was affiliated with the Shreve orchestra, a local musical company of which he was the leaderMorgan married in Wayne County on November 8, 1911, to Florence Elmira Eddy (1884-1947). The couple were wed for thirty-five years and had two sons who died in infancy. 
  In the late 1910s, Morgan took work with the Ohio Fuel and Gas Co. for its Medina district. He would advance to the posts of production foreman and after 33 years retired in 1952 as production superintendent. Sources also note his operating a photography studio in Shreve, but no mention is given as to its dates of operation. Around 1945 he and his wife removed from Shreve to Seville, where they resided for the remainder of their lives. Following retirement, he was affiliated with the Seville Sand and Gravel Co
  After the death of his wife Florence in 1947 Morgan remarried in July 1948 to Mabel Riedel (1907-1998), who survived him upon his death. Morgan's residency in Seville saw him as president of the local Parent-Teacher Association and was a past master of the Medina Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. He was also affiliated with the Chippewa District Boy Scouts and attended the Seville Presbyterian Church. A well-known photographer in both Shreve and Seville, Morgan's interest in photography extended back to early in his life, and in a 1957 newspaper write-up on his hobby was revealed to own "an arsenal of cameras", including:
"A 16 mm movie, a 4 by 5 Pressman's camera, two thirty-five mm cameras, a 2 1/4  by 3 1/4 camera and a big movie camera. Morgan has a photo mural of local pictorial views in the lobby of the Old Phoenix National Bank."

From the Akron Beacon Journal, September 8, 1957.

  Prior to his election as mayor Zoid Morgan had never held elective office, and won his first term as Seville's mayor in November 1955. Late in his first term, Morgan joined two other Medina County mayors (Don Merriman and L.J. Reynolds) in their fight to prevent the establishment of a municipal court that would serve not only the county seat of Medina but 17 other townships. These mayors would circulate petitions decrying the court's construction, which would cost Lodi, Seville, and Wadsworth thousands of dollars in fees. In March 1957 the three would appear before the Ohio legislature's house judiciary committee to argue against the measure.
  In  November 1957 Morgan won a second term as mayor, and two years later was defeated in his bid for a third term. One year after his defeat he was named Seville's local inspector of pipeline construction, taking part in overseeing the construction of a $361,750 sewage disposal system. He continued residence in Seville until he suffered a heart attack in early 1966, whereafter he was transported to the Rittman-Wadsworth Hospital. He died there on March 4, aged 78, and was survived by his wife Mabel and stepsons Nelson, Roy, and David. Following funeral arrangements, Morgan was interred alongside his wife Florence at the Fairview Cemetery in Craigton, Ohio.

From the Medina County Gazette, March 5, 1966.

Portrait from the Ohio Division of Reclamation.

  It may seem improbable, but Ohio fielded not one but two men named Zoid/Zoyd who attained distinction through public service. In addition to Zoid Morgan, Zoyd Martin Flaler made an impact in Buckeye State government, being appointed as the first chief of the state division of reclamation. As a high ranking figure in the state department of agriculture, Flaler served several years in that post and in 1954 was named as Ohio state director of public works. The son of William H. Flaler and the former Flora Painter, Zoyd Martin Flaler was born in Mercer County, Ohio on July 31, 1904.
  Zoyd Flaler would reside on a farm near Fort Recovery, Ohio during his childhood and studied at the Anthony Wayne Business College and at the Tri-State College. He earned a degree in civil engineering from the latter school and soon established a career as a civil engineer and surveyor, being employed by General Electric as a construction engineer. He would marry in 1936 to Elizabeth Margaret Sherman (1909-2005). The couple's sixty-three-year marriage produced one daughter, Martha Flaler Avant. 
  Following his marriage, Flaler was named city engineer and service director for Coldwater, Ohio, and also engaged in highway construction in his region. In the 1930s he served as assistant surveyor and engineer for Mercer County, under F.D. Kuckuk, and in 1939 was appointed to succeed him as county surveyor. He would win election to a term of his own in that office in November 1940 and served several more years. While still the incumbent Flaler was named a trustee of the Ohio County Engineer's Association in 1945, and in that same year was elected vice president of the Mid-west Ohio Society of Professional Engineers. 
  In April 1946 Flaler continued political advancement when he was named as city manager for Coldwater, serving until at least 1948. In the following year, Ohio Governor Frank Lausche signed into law the Coal Strip Mine Land Reclamation Act, legislation that provided for the regulation of surface coal mining in Ohio. This new law also created the need for a "new regulatory agency" in the state department of agriculture that would oversee its administration. In July 1949 Governor Lausche appointed Flaler as the inaugural holder of this post, titled Chief of the State Division of Reclamation. In a Dayton Daily News writeup concerning his appointment, Flaler's new duties were detailed:
"Under the new law, the desolation left behind by the huge stripping shovels now becomes the problem of Zoyd M. Flaler, of Coldwater...Flaler will have the responsibilty in his $6500 a year post of setting up the rules and regulations for the law's administration...The new law requires strip mining operations to obtain $50-a-year license. It also requires them to deposit bond of $10 for each acre to be mined. Minimum deposit is $1000."
From the Dayton Daily News, July 24, 1949.

   Flaler's time as chief of the division of reclamation extended until December 1954, when Governor Lausche appointed him as state director of public works. This office saw Flaler responsible for overseeing public works projects in the state and was reappointed to that post in January 1957. Major projects that began during his tenure were the construction of a 150 bed receiving center at the Juvenile Diagnostic Center in Columbus (at a cost of $1,500,000); a $1,500,000 100-bed psychiatric institution for delinquent children located in Columbus; and a food unit at the Columbus state school.
  Zoyd Flaler was succeeded as public works director by Richard Larimer in January 1958, and in that year was named chief of planning and construction for the Ohio Department of Mental Hygeine and Correction. His full dates of service remain unknown at this time and he later headed the Bureau of Planning and Grants in Columbus in the late 1960s. He continued in that post until at least 1971, and in that year is recorded as head of the Community Facilities Construction and Implementation section of the Department of Mental Hygiene. Little else is known of Flaler's life after the 1970s, excepting note of his residency in Raleigh, North Carolina. He died in that city on November 7, 1999, aged 95, and was survived by his wife and daughter. Both husband and wife were interred at the Spring Hill Cemetery in Fort Recovery, Ohio.
Flaler as he appeared in 1954.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ceralvo Giddings McMillen (1846-1922)

From The Hotel World, May 13, 1922.

  One of the more exotically named mayors of a major Ohio city, Ceralvo Giddings McMillen served two terms as mayor of Dayton and gained additional repute in business, being the owner and operator of hotels in Dayton, Columbus, and Pennsylvania. The son of Asa and Sarah (Brown) McMillen, Ceralvo Giddings "C.G." McMillen was born in Dayton on December 10, 1846. McMillen's curious name was highlighted in the Dayton Herald shortly after his election as mayor, which notes:
"Mayor McMillen has a historical given name--Ceralvo Giddings, called for Colonel [Luther] Giddings, who was a hero of the battle of Ceralvo, Mexico, early in the war with that country, when the army under General Zachary Taylor was on the victorious march to the City of Mexico, and which he shortly afterward captured, to close the war. Colonel Giddings was a prominent Dayton lawyer when the war broke out, and he promptly enlisted a company, and joined the Third Ohio Regiment, Colonel Chas. H. Brough. He was soon promoted to be Colonel, and he covered himself and command all over with glory at Ceralvo. Mayor McMillen, was, we believe, born on the day of the battle, and was named for the hero and his victorious battlefield."
  Born "on the site of the old workhouse, Sixth and Main streets", McMillen resided in that area for a number of years afterward and during the Civil War was a drummer boy, serving in the Union Army. McMillen's long connection to the Ohio hotel industry began in the 1860s, with his time as chief clerk of the Phillips House in Dayton. Recognized for his "courteous and gentlemanly deportment", McMillen later left that employ to take charge of the Neil House hotel in Columbus, where he remained for an indeterminate period. In the mid-1870s he married Ella Gebhart (1851-1927),  with who he had one daughter, Roxie (1878-1958).
  In the early 1880s, McMillen relocated to Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, where he was the owner of the Broeckerhoff House. After a period of remodeling and renovation, the hotel was reopened in January 1882. His connection to the Broeckerhoff extended until at least 1887, and during his residency in Bellefonte was acknowledged as an "experienced hotellist" and a gentleman "of refinement and culture besides." McMillen's time in Pennsylvania also saw him as the founder of the McMillen Troubadours, an instrumental and vocal group that disbanded in Chambersburg in late 1886.
  On March 31, 1887, C.G. McMillen became the owner of the Hotel Lancaster in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He continued work in Bellefonte and Lancaster until early 1888, when he took charge of the Hotel Albemarle, located in Pittsburg. His lengthy connection to the hotel business saw McMillen hold memberships in several hospitality-related fraternal groups, including the Ohio State Hotel Men's Association, the Greeter's of America, the United Commercial Travelers, and was a founder of the Hotel Clerks' Association. He also attained high rank in the Knights of Pythias, the Royal Arcanum, and the Knights Templar.
  By October 1888 McMillen had removed back to Dayton, and became manager of the Dickey House hotel. He was subsequently elected as a member of the Dayton school board, and in 1891 he and a number of other citizens organized the Dayton Metropolitan Musical Company, a "musical stock company" that would comprise thirty musicians and a military band. McMillen was elected as its president and manager, and in the spring of 1892 was elected as mayor of Dayton "by a plurality of two votes." 

From the Dayton Daily News, July 29, 1899.

  Early in his term McMillen served a brief period on the Dayton Board of Police Commissioners, and in 1894 was elected to a second term. He "effected many improvements in the sanitary conditions of the city" during the 1894-96 term, and after leaving office returned to work as manager of the Hotel Dickey. He continued to be active in the Knights of Pythias, attaining the rank of Major of the first battalion, Fourth Regiment. In the March 1898 Democratic primary he was a candidate for city police judge, but was defeated.
  Following the 1907 death of his sister Imogene (remarked as an eccentric by several papers), McMillen and other relatives began a search of her property, where she was supposed to have buried money and valuables. The party would locate over $14,000 in gold secreted in two buried jars in the cellar, and were remarked as having "attracted countrywide attentionfor their search. On the site of the old McMillen home C.G. McMillen constructed the new Giddings Hotel, which opened in November 1910. The "strictly modern and fire-proof" hotel originally consisted of forty rooms complete with running water and showers, and in the spring of 1913 had two more stories added to the original structure.
   McMillen continued ownership of the Giddings Hotel until his death, which occurred at his Dayton home on April 27, 1922. He had been ill for four months prior to his death, and was survived by his wife and daughter. Following her death in 1927, Ellaa Gebhart McMillen was interred alongside her husband at the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton.

From the Hotel World, 1922.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Tolla Burr Mateer (1872-1950)

From the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, July 26, 1924.

  Tolla Burr Mateer was a longtime attorney residing in Mt. Gilead, Ohio who served three terms as prosecuting attorney for Morrow County. During his third term, Mateer was an aspirant for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio's eighth district but would lose the 1924 Democratic primary. In addition to his time as prosecuting attorney and his congressional candidacy, Mateer was an alternate delegate from Ohio to the 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
  The son of John and Sarah (McClarren) Mateer, Tolla Burr Mateer was born in Morrow County on March 14, 1872. One should note that in addition to the spelling given here, Mateer's first name has two variations, being spelled as "Tollie" and "Tolly". While the latter is noted in his 1950 Marion Star obituary and the 1910 census, other sources, like the 1911 history of Morrow County, the 1905 state roster of county and township officials, the 1900 and 1930 census, and the 1975 History of the McTeer-Mateer Families, record it as Tolla. All in all, very confusing!
  "T.B." Mateer, as most sources list him, decided upon a career in law early in life and graduated from the Ohio Northern University in 1899 with his law degree. He established his practice in Mt. Gilead and married in Morrow County in December 1903 to Mary Lanah Tuttle (1868-1944). The couple had two children, Ruth Tuttle (1907-1996) and John Owen (1910-1912). In the same year as his marriage Mateer entered into the race for Morrow County prosecuting attorney, and in that year won the Democratic primary. In November 1903 Mateer defeated Republican nominee Benjamin Olds, 2,311 votes to 1,928, and entered into his duties in early 1904.
  Mateer won a second term in November 1905, and served from 1906-08, being succeeded by J.C. Williamson. He returned to private practice in Mt. Gilead and in April 1913 was retained as defense counsel for John Morrow, charged with the smothering death of Stella Platt's eighteen-month-old daughter. Morrow was subsequently convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He returned to political life in 1922 when he won a third term as county prosecuting attorney, serving from 1923-25.
  In March 1924 Mateer's name was put forward by the Democrats as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio's 8th congressional district. After accepting the nomination, campaign notices touting his candidacy appeared throughout area newspapers leading up to the August primary. Remarked as having "demonstrated his fairness as well as ability in the performance of a public duty", Mateer stood "four square on all public questions", especially those involving agriculture. In July 1924 the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum detailed Mateer's agricultural interests, noting:
"Having been interested for years in farming he is in a position to know some of the difficulties that have confronted the farmer for the last four years nd his close contact with public affairs, his knowledge of politics and his statesmanlike vision makes him the most available man to meet these conditions. The Eighth Congressional district will make no mistake in selecting his as its leader in this coming campaign."
From the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, July 31, 1924.

  When the polls closed in August 1924 Mateer lost out to fellow Democrat Thomas Brooks Fletcher (1879-1945), a newspaper editor and publisher. Fletcher would go on to win the general election and served five terms in Congress (1925-29, 1933-39). While his congressional aspirations may have been dashed, Mateer further aided the Ohio Democrats in June and July 1924 with his service as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Held in New York City, this convention nominated John William Davis for the presidency, with Mateer being one of over forty alternates selected as part of the Ohio delegation.
  Mateer returned to his law practice in Mt. Gilead after his convention service and in the late 1920s served as a member of the Ohio Democratic State Central Committee, representing the eighth district. He continued with his practice until the year of his death, dying at his Mt. Gilead home on December 17, 1950, aged 78. He had been predeceased by his wife Mary and was interred at the Rivercliff Cemetery in Mt. Gilead.

From the Marion Star, December 19, 1950.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Ordello Luce Doty (1856-1921)

From the  1895 Souvenir Program of the Second Internation Conference of the Epworth League.

  A number of 19th-century parents had the inclination to bestow vaguely Italianate-sounding names on their children, several of whom went on to public prominence. Among these men were famed American clergyman Orello Cone (1835-1905), and political figures Ronello DeWitt Burnham, Devillo Henry Curnalia, Coello Orland Boling, and Francello George Jillson, the latter two being featured here in years past. That list grows slightly larger with the inclusion of Ordello Luce Doty, a Cleveland manufacturer and Methodist church leader. A standout figure in the Cleveland area Epworth League, Doty was an active worker on behalf of the Prohibition party. A past candidate for mayor of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County treasurer, Doty was also an aspirant for the Ohio state senate and the house of representatives.
  The son of the Rev. Thomas King (1833-1913) and Mary Asenath (Luce) Doty (1836-1921), Ordello Luce Doty was born in Potsdam, New York on April 23, 1856. Little is known of Doty's early life, excepting notice of his family's relocation to Cleveland in 1868. He married in Cleveland in September 1880 to Eliza Broder Timmins (1857-1948) and the couple's four-decade marriage produced two sons, Charles Edward (1881-1963) and Ordello Luce Jr. (1894-1983).
  In 1885 Doty partnered with Christian J. Werwage to found the Manufacturers Oil and Grease Co, of Cleveland. Doty would serve as the company's president until his death in 1921. In addition to his business activities in that city, Doty gained further distinction with his affiliation with the Epworth League, which he helped to found in 1889. The league had its origins in Cleveland, where, in 1889, several Methodist young adult associations merged to form an organization dedicated to "encourage and cultivate Christ-centered character amongst young adults around the world." Prior to its formation Doty had served as secretary of the Ohio Oxford League, a precursor to the Epworth League.
  Doty's long connection to the Epworth League saw him serve four years on its board of control; was first vice president of the Cleveland Union League; was president of the Cleveland district league, Northern Ohio Conference; was secretary of the league's Fifth General Conference district in 1890; and was president of the Fifth General Conference district, retiring in 1898.

From the Western Christian Advocate, 1898.

  As a leading Methodist in Cleveland, Doty served over a decade as a Sunday school superintendent of the Jennings Avenue Methodist Episcopal church and was long active in the affairs of the Prohibition party.  Prior to 1898, he had been put forward as that party's candidate for mayor of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County treasurer, and in 1897 gained the party's nomination for state senator from the 25th district. One of nine candidates that year, Doty polled seventh in the field, garnering just 684 votesIn 1908 he returned to politics with his unsuccessful run for state representative from Cuyahoga County. One of several prohibition candidates that year, he polled just 312 votes, and two years later was the Prohibition candidate for Cuyahoga County sheriff.
  Information on Doty's life after 1910 remains scant. He died at his home in Cleveland on December 4, 1921, following a week's illness, and was survived by his wife and two sons. Following her death at age 90 in 1948, Eliza Doty was interred alongside her husband at the Lakewood Memorial Park in Rocky River, Ohio.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wilver Thurman Naragon (1871-1939)

From the Dayton Daily News, March 27, 1939.

  Featured on this site's Facebook page several days ago, Wilver Thurman Naragon's name was found via the archives of the Coshocton Tribune. The first "Wilver" this author has discovered, Naragon was in his day a leading manufacturer in Greene County, and was also politically active, serving four years as mayor of Osborn. He followed that post with his time as U.S. Postmaster at Osborn until his death in 1939. One of twelve children born to Irven and Chastina Elizabeth (Barnhouse) Naragon, Wilver Thurman Naragon was born in Harrison County, Ohio on May 5, 1871.
   Little is known of Naragon's early life or education, and on May 18, 1897, he married in Jefferson, Ohio to Eva Alverta Copeland (1873-1946). The couple's four-decade marriage produced eight children, Blanche Edith (1898-1977), Earl Keller (1899-1924), Paul Copeland (1902-1948), Dale Demarr (1903-1976), Orlou B. (1905-1993), Gladys Pearl (1906-1979), Wilver Irvin (1907-1958), Lloyd (1910-1956). In the early 1900s Naragon engaged in railroad work, being "manifest clerk at Steubenville" with the Pennsylvania railway. By 1910 he had advanced to chief clerk of that railway line in Newark, Ohio, and sometime later established himself in the hardware business in West Lafayette, Ohio.
  Following the purchase of his store in 1916 by the Gray Hardware Co., Naragon joined the West Lafayette Manufacturing Co. as a director and general secretary. This company later reformed into the Moore Enameling and Mfg Company, and during his West Lafayette residency Naragon served as a Sunday school superintendent for the Methodist Protestant church. In 1926 he entered politics with his candidacy for Democratic state representative from Coshocton County, filing his papers that June.

From the Coshocton Tribune, June 2, 1926.

  In the days following his announcement Naragon's candidacy was touted in the Coshocton Tribune, which described him as:
"A man of high conservative judgment, high Christian character and more than ordinary abilty that and will make the highest type of public official. His selection for this office will undoubtedly reflect credit upon our county and community and being a forceful and pleasing speaker, can render a real and distinctive service to his constituents. His friends bespeak for him the success due a loyal Democrat and true American citizen."

  Naragon would lose the August Democratic primary to  Coshocton school superintendent Emmett Guthrie (1892-1970), who went on to win the general election that November.  Following his defeat, Naragon removed with his family to Osborn in Greene County, Ohio. Here he would be a presiding elder in the local church and was elected as mayor of the village. He served two consecutive terms (1930-34), and in March 1934 was appointed as postmaster of Osborn. He served in that capacity until his death from a stroke on March 26, 1939, at age 67. Naragon was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Fairfield Cemetery in West Lafayette. A decade following Naragon's death, the town of  Osborn ceased to exist, as it was merged with the neighboring village of Fairfield to form the town of Fairborn in 1950. This town, with a population of over 32,000 as per the 2010 census, is located near the famed Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

From the Dayton Daily News, April 17, 1932.

From the Coshocton Tribune, March 27, 1939.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Clande VanEverett David Emmons (1898-1977)

From the Akron Beacon Journal, August 12, 1929.

  The judicial benches of Ohio were peopled with oddly named judges in the first half of the 20th century and following the writeups on Judges Urbanus Saunders and Null Hodapp, we journey to Akron to highlight the life of Clande VanEverett David Emmons. Elected as municipal judge for Akron in 1929, Emmons served thirteen years in office and was later elected as Judge of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. His tenure extended three decades and at the time of his retirement in 1973 had sat as a judge for nearly 44 years, being one of the longest-tenured jurists in the state. The son of VanEverett David (1868-1936) and Lilly (Williston) Emmons (1871-1951), Clande V.D. Emmons was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on November 25, 1898.
  An impressive figure in Summit County politics, VanEverett David Emmons served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives and later won six terms in the state senate, where he served until his death. In 1899 the Emmons family had settled in Akron, where Clande attended the Henry Grade School and Central High School. He continued studies at Akron University, where he was a member of the football, track, and baseball teams. A veteran of World War I, Emmons pursued a law degree at the Western Reserve Law School in the early 1920s and graduated in 1924. He married in Akron on August 10, 1926, to Thelma McClister (1904-1995). The couple were wed for fifty years and would remain childless.
  Shortly after his admittance to the bar in 1924 Emmons established his practice in Akron, being a member of the firm of Emmons and Conant. Through the succeeding years, he became a leading club-man in his region, being a member of both the Akron and Ohio Bar Associations, the American Legion, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Moose Lodge, the Eagles Lodge, and Shriners. Emmons further distinguished himself in the masonic fraternity, being commander in chief of the Akron Consistory, Valley of Akron; a past wise master of the Ariel Chapter; an eminent commander of the Bethany Commandery; a past worshipful master of the W. Edwin Palmer Lodge; an illustrious master of the Akron Council; and a most wise master of the Cleveland Valley Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

From the Akron Beacon Journal, August 5, 1929.

   In 1929 Clande Emmons made the jump into city politics, announcing his candidacy for municipal judge of Akron. Prior to that year's Republican primary campaign advertisements touting Emmons' candidacy appeared in city newspapers, with the Akron Beacon Journal noting that his endorsement "carries the names of over 1,00o people prominent in the business, social, fraternal, and political world." In a substantial notice featured in its August 12, 1929 edition, the Journal published a list of his promises, noting:
"Mr. Emmons' platform--To be punctual, to adjudge each case impartially within the shortest possible time, to strictly enforce the laws, to be guided in decision not by race, creed, class, color, religion or influence, but only and solely by the evidence and law that is applicable; to be courteous and just at all time to attorneys, and their clients and to speed up legal machinery."
  In August 1929 Emmons won the Republican primary and in the November general election was one of two city judges elected, polling 18,740 votes. He took his seat on the bench in January 1930 and served until his election to the court of common pleas in 1942. During his term Emmons sat as a trustee of the Akron Art Institute and won his fourth municipal court term in November 1941, garnering over 38,000 votes. An unsuccessful candidate for the Summit County Court of Common Pleas in November 1940, Emmons was again a candidate in 1942 and in August of that year won the primary. He went on to win the general election in November and took his seat on the common pleas court the following February. 

From the Akron Beacon Journal, August 10, 1942.

  Emmons' tenure on the court extended three decades, retiring in 1973. In December 1971 he set an unusual local record by granting his 15,000th divorce, having first presided over a divorce proceeding in February 1943. Following his retirement, he continued to serve on temporary assignment with the common pleas and Ninth District Court of Appeals until 1976. Emmons was also remarked as having "handled more jury cases annually than any other Summit County jurist." This long period of service saw Emmons gain further prominence in Akron civic affairs, where he had considerable impact. He would serve as a trustee and President of the Akron YMCA Board of Governors; was chairman of the Transportation Fund for Crippled and Burned Children; was a trustee of the local NAACP chapter; a campaign manager for the Akron University Building Levy; and was chairman of the Recommending Committee of the Summit County Draft Board.
  After a year of failing health, Clande V.D. Emmons died at the Akron City Hospital on April 14, 1977, aged 78. He and his wife had celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary the year prior, and following her death in 1995 Thelma Emmons was interred alongside her husband at the Rose Hill Burial Park in Fairlawn. Following his death Emmons was memorialized as a "kind, considerate, and thorough judge", one whose:
"Judicial temperment on the bench was almost legendary. No attorney, winner or loser, ever left his courtroom without realizing that someone had passed on the facts whose legal knowledge was second to none."
From the Akron Beacon Journal, April 15, 1977.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Null Marcus Hodapp (1894-1945)

From the Dayton Daily News, November 6, 1927.

  Shortly before Judge Urbanus S. Saunders was elected to the bench in Wayne County, Ohio, another curiously named judge was beginning his career in Dayton. That man was Null Marcus Hodapp, a World War I veteran and attorney based in that city. In addition to serving as judge of the municipal court of Dayton and as a Montgomery County common pleas court judge, Hodapp gained further distinction as the primary figure behind the construction of Argonne Forest Park, remnants of which still exist today. Born on July 4, 1894, in Ohio, Null Marcus Hodapp was the son of Frank and Delsie Hodapp.
  Hodapp's formative years were spent in East Dayton, and his early education was obtained in the Ruskin and McKinley schools. He was a graduate of the Stivers High School, and during his youth partnered with his brother Ruey to form a newspaper route. The brothers accumulated enough income from their venture to finance their first year of college, with both deciding upon careers in law. Null Hodapp graduated with his law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1917, and for a time was affiliated with the law firm of Burkhart, Heald, and Pickrel. At the dawn of American involvement in WWI in 1917, Hodapp became one of sixty-six Dayton men to enlist for service. 
 After undergoing training at Camp Chillicothe and Camp Mills in Long Island, Hodapp and his fellow servicemen embarked for Europe in 1918. He and longtime friend Ralph Clemens would take rank amongst the 322nd Field Artillery and with this unit:
"Spent one year on French and German soil participating in the Mause-Argonne Offensive and the Battle of Verdun where the battery played an important part in a successful battle." 
 On November 11, 1918, just hours before the signing of the Armistice, Null Hodapp suffered the death of his friend Ralph Clemens, who was killed by a shell fragment. The next month Hodapp and the rest of 322nd were dispatched to Germany, where "he served on German soil near Coblentz" until May 1919. Following an honorable discharge, Hodapp returned to Dayton and participated in the publishing of the history of his unit, entitled the History of the 322nd Field Artillery. Hodapp was later named president of the 322nd Field Artillery Association, which was "regarded as a model ex-service organization by army officials." 
  After his return to Dayton, Null Hodapp partnered with his brother Ruey in the firm of Hodapp & Hodapp, which continued until the former's election as a municipal judge. On June 15, 1921, Hodapp married in Dayton to LoRean Hulda Dannersbach (1901-1996). The couple separated in the mid-1930s and would have two children, Eleanor May (born ca. 1923) and Null Marcus Jr. (1925-2004). Distinguished in the city musical establishment, LoRean Hodapp was a soprano soloist with the Westminster Presbyterian choir and had earlier toured the midwest with the Redpath Lyceum circuit.
  While still engaged with his law practice in the mid-1920s, Null Hodapp focused his efforts on the purchase of farmland near Dayton's Germantown Pike, with his end goal being the creation of a park for World War veterans and their families. By 1925 he had accrued over 400 acres of land, and with the help of a number of fellow veterans and contractors set out to make his vision a reality. Opened in July 1927, the park was named the Argonne Forest Park, and under Hodapp's direction, the dedication was complete with a fireworks display and a mock-battle. A second mock battle at the park was held three months later on October 15, complete with trenches, dugouts, forts, "and several rows of field artillery." Following its dedication, the Argonne Forest Park would be home to a clubhouse, swimming pool, picnic areas, a dance floor, a baseball diamond, concession stands, pony rides, a shooting range, "and a figure-eight auto race track." At the annual July 4th extravaganza during the 1930s, the park also staged a mock reenactment of the Battle of Argonne Forest, which featured a number of the battle's local veterans, complete with old uniforms and rifles firing blanks.

From the Dayton Daily News, June 5, 1927.

  One month prior to the dedication of Argonne Forest Park Hodapp made his first foray into Dayton politics, announcing his candidacy for judge of the municipal court. Hodapp won the August 1927 primary and through the remainder of that year had his candidacy boomed in Dayton newspapers. One day prior to his election Hodapp was profiled in the Dayton News, which detailed:
"If elected, as judge of the municipal court, on November 8, Mr. Hodapp promises his very best to the citizens of Dayton in the way of a judge. He has gone even further than that and has promised before taking the bench he will make a trip to Cleveland, Colombus and Cincinnati and get from their courts the requisites that go to make up a clean-cut, wide awake, and efficient office and personnel."

  In November 1927 Null Hodapp won out at the polls, defeating incumbent Judge William G. Powell by a vote of 15,747 to 13,854. Just days following his win, Hodapp fulfilled his earlier promise to visit other municipal courts in several major Ohio cities and took his seat on the bench on January 2, 1928. His service extended until 1936, with his tenure highlighted in his 1945 Dayton Daily News obituary, which related:

"His unconventional methods of conducting police court and the fact that he handled much of the building and loan litigation during his tenure in common pleas court made Judge Hodapp a widely known and highly controversial figure."

  Among the methods Hodapp utilized during his time on the municipal bench was the permission of radio broadcasts of sessions of the police court, and early in his tenure noted that he'd be reducing the bail for "pink ticket offenses" (such as parking infractions) to one dollar. Announcing that he "sought to dispense justice rather than enrich the city treasury", Hodapp's reduction of the traffic bail early in his service drew the ire of other city officials, who noted that "approximately thirty thousand dollars would be lost" in city revenue.

From the Dayton Herald News, January 6, 1928.

  By 1935 Judge Hodapp was at the end of his second term as judge and was unopposed going into the August 1935 Democratic primary. That November he defeated Republican candidate Clarence J. Stewart, 28,866 votes to 14,887 and was mentioned by the Dayton Daily Herald as having been "accorded the highest vote of any of the candidates for office whose names appeared on the ballot." 
  Null Hodapp's third term as municipal judge proved to be short, and in the spring of 1936 announced his candidacy for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. He won the primary election that May and in November bested Republican nominee E.T. Snediker by a 24,000 vote margin. His term began in January 1937 and in November 1941 was elected to a second term. Hodapp's eight-year tenure on the court of common pleas saw him preside over several "sensational criminal cases", among which was the 1942 murder trial of the Richardson brothers, a gang of four who were convicted for the slaying of Everett Deweese, who had been killed by a shotgun blast following a robbery at an Alexanderville tavern. Hodapp also presided over the 1944 murder trial of 21-year-old Lillie Mae Hartley, who was later acquitted by a jury in the shooting death of Corp. Jack Nathanson, which had occurred at her apartment on December 29, 1943. 
  Through his judgeship, Hodapp remained connected to the operations of Argonne Forest Park, where he had a home, and for several years was an owner of the Southern Hills Sand, Gravel, and Excavating Company of Dayton. With the coming of World War II and gas rationing, attendance at the Argonne Forest Park ebbed considerably, and in the early 1940s had been unsuccessful in his bid to have the Montgomery County fairgrounds relocated to Argonne Forest. On January 2, 1945, Hodapp was discovered unconscious on the kitchen floor of his home by a fellow gravel company employee. Early newspaper reports noted that he had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage several hours before, and following his discovery, was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton. Hodapp died in hospital on January 5, 1945, aged 50, never having regained consciousness. Following his death, newspaper reports noted his death as the result of a paralytic stroke.

From the Dayton Journal Herald, January 6, 1945.

   Judge Hodapp's unexpected death was front-page news in Dayton papers, and in the days following his passing received an extensive mention, with one Daytonian, C.K. Moore, writing:
"The late Hon. Judge Null M. Hodapp of the court of common pleas was very well liked by many citizens in this community, as was proved many times at the polls in recent years. He was fair and square in his decisions and many respect his memory."
  Further character assessments of Hodapp were published in the Dayton Journal Herald on January 9, 1945, dating back to his time as municipal judge. He was remarked as having held over cases so that he could personally visit "the home to verify statements of the accused", adopted equitable treatment of workingmen and African-Americans, and on "innumerable" occasions "patched up differences between careless auto drivers and the owners of other cars or property they damaged."
  Null M. Hodapp was survived by his two children and was succeeded on the common pleas bench by Judge Clarence J. Stewart. Following funeral arrangements, he was interred at the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton. Sadly, Hodapp's brainchild, the Argonne Forest Park, did not long survive him. In the years following his death, parcels of the parkland were sold off, and in 1966 it was purchased by the Dayton-Montgomery Park district. Over the succeeding decades, the park's remains were gradually absorbed by the surrounding forest, but remnants of the park, including the dancefloor and swimming pool wall, still can be seen today. The memory of Null Hodapp and Argonne Forest Park still remains strong in Dayton today, with his life and park history being profiled in Dayton newspapers in 1984, 1998, and most recently in May of this year.

From the Dayton Daily News, January 6, 1945