Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Covington Dirickson Powell (1887-1954)

  A recent strange name discovery is Covington Dirickson Powell, who in the 1930s logged two terms as mayor of Berlin, Maryland in Worcester County. A lifelong Marylander, Powell was born on December 7, 1887, in Powellville, Wicomico County. Bestowed the unusual name Covington Dirickson upon his birth, Powell's middle name has variations in spelling, being given as Dirickson in his 1917 draft registration, and as Derrickson on and
  Little information could be found on Powell's early life or education, and prior to WWI was employed as a railroad telegraph operator. He married ca. 1907 to Alberta Cecilia Burbage (1886-1984) to who he was wed until his death. The couple had two children, Ella Burbage Powell Lewis (1908-2005) and Roland Burbage Powell (1915-1976).
  In the early 1920s, he took employment with the E.D. Adkins Lumber Co. of Berlin, working first as a shipping clerk. He would advance to the position of general manager in 1926, serving in that capacity until his death nearly thirty years later. Powell entered city politics in 1934 when he announced his candidacy for Berlin mayor. With mayor Raymond Quillen declining renomination in 1934, Covington Powell was the only nominated candidate for mayor that year, and in May won the election, with only 30 votes being cast! During his first term, Powell served as a director in the Berlin Businessmen's Association and was reelected in 1936. The city's public sewer system was also installed during his tenure.
   In February 1938 Powell announced his intention to retire as mayor at the end of his term, citing his wanting to return to his business pursuits. The Salisbury Times noted that Powell had attended "every regular and special session of the city council" during his four years in office. 
  A longtime member of the Buckingham Presbyterian Church of Berlin, Powell was elected as a church elder in 1940, and in 1943 is recorded as the owner of the Powell Farm, a large poultry farm that suffered a catastrophic fire that year which claimed the lives of thousands of chicks. Covington Dirickson Powell died of heart failure at the Peninsula General Hospital in Salisbury, Maryland on January 15, 1954, aged 66. His wife Alberta survived him by thirty years, and following her death at age 98 in 1984 was interred alongside him at the Buckingham Cemetery in Berlin.

From the Salisbury Daily Times, January 16, 1954.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Orello Eugene Frink (1855-1916)

Portrait from the History of Colorado, Volume II, 1918.

  New York native Orello Eugene Frink found his business fortune in Colorado, where he first settled in 1891. Following his move, Frink established himself in the produce and retail meat business and after moving to Fort Lupton made his mark as a canned food distributor, founding the Silver State Canning and Produce Company. In 1912 Frink had a brief flirtation with elective office when he was a candidate for the Colorado House of Representatives but lost out in that year's Democratic primary. Born in DeRuyter, New York on May 16, 1855, Orello Eugene Frink was the son of Ephraim and Lucinda (Ferguson) Frink.
  Orello Frink's education was obtained in the state of his birth and for nine years was a school teacher in that state. He married Junietta Patience "Etta" Peckham (1859-1952) in 1877, with who he had four children, Clarence (1879-1945), Margurite (1881-1972), Ruby (1883-1953), and Richard Freelove (1894-1986). In 1891 he and his family left New York for Colorado, and first settled in Denver. After establishing a home he embarked on a career in wholesale produce, and, later, a "retail meat market." In 1892, while still conducting business in Denver, the Frinks removed to Fort Lupton, and around 1895 he began a creamery and cheese factory.
  Within a few years of its construction, Frink's business outgrew its original confines and soon a larger business took its place, one that would become one of the largest canning facilities in the state. Operating under the name of the Silver State Canning and Produce Company, by 1912 that company could boast of 183 employees, and in that year construction began on "a warehouse 60 by 80 feet", as well as a large basement equipped with machinery for making sauerkraut. Among other vegetables canned by the company were peas, corn, tomatoes, beans, and pickles, and in addition to his canning interests "owned and operated nine different farms, on which he mostly employed Japanese help." 
  Through the succeeding years, Frink's cannery continued to expand, with their product being transported by railroad car "to San Francisco, Iowa, Texas, and the Eastern states." In the early 1900s, Frink became active in local politics, winning election to the Fort Lupton town board of trustees. In the summer of 1912 he announced his candidacy for the Colorado House of Representatives, and, running on the Democratic ticket, hoped to represent the county of Weld. 

From the Greeley Tribune, September 5, 1912.

  In an August 1912 write-up on his candidacy, Frink detailed his extensive business dealings and also made note that:
"Even if I am a candidate for state representative on the democratic ticket, I shall continue to put up Fort Lupton products more enthusiastically than ever. My wife will see to the management while I am out campaigning."

  One of three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, Frink polled third on primary election day in September, garnering 572 votes to Charles Philip's winning total of 680. Following his defeat Frink continued with his business interests and although a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was remarked as having "contributed generously to the support of all churches." Frink died of heart failure at his Fort Lupton home on November 11, 1916, aged 61. His wife Etta survived him by nearly forty years, dying at age 93 in 1952. Both were interred at the Hillside Cemetery in Fort Lupton.

From the Windsor Beacon, November 16, 1916.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Nazaire Elie Biron (1873-1952)

Portrait from the Souvenir of the New Hampshire Legislature, 1901.

  Today marks a return to New Hampshire with a profile on Nazaire Elie Biron, a resident of Manchester who served one term in his state's house of representatives. Born of French Canadian descent in Manchester on September 5, 1873, Nazaire E. Biron was the son of Theophile Georges (1852-1941) and Therese Frechette Biron (1854-1919)
  A student at the Lowell Street and St. Augustine Parochial Schools of Manchester, Biron later studied at the Commercial College of Labaie du Febrve in Quebec, Canada before returning to Manchester, where he studied at St. Mary's Parochial School. Further education was obtained in Quebec at St. Hyacinth College and Laval University. 
  In the late 1890s, Biron followed in his father and brother's stead and joined the family bakery business, operating under the name T.G. Biron and Sons. He was thus employed until September 1900 when he began the study of dentistry in Manchester under Dr. A.J. Sawyer. In 1900 Biron was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Manchester's 9th ward and sat on the Insurance committee during his term (1901-03).
  Following his service, Biron married Eugenie Perrault (1872-1965) in 1904 and had at least one son, Paul Emile George (1907-1991). Active in French fraternal circles in his city, Biron would serve a term as president of the Cercle Nationale and was the first secretary of the Court  St. Joseph, A.C.A. 
  Nazaire Biron returned to city politics with his service on the Manchester board of aldermen from 1913-15, and from 1925-1927 served on a three-member police commission for the city. Later, in 1936-37, Biron is recorded as the secretary of the New Hampshire Republican Party. Biron died in Manchester on June 7, 1952, aged 78, and was survived by his wife Eugenie, who, following her death at age 92 in 1965 was interred alongside him at the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Manchester. Far from a forgotten figure in that city, Biron is the namesake of the Nazaire E. Biron bridge in Manchester, completed in 1973. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Quartus Wright (1813-1887)

Portrait from the Vineland Daily Journal, August 7, 1961.

  Tucked away in a small cemetery in the obscure settlement of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania lie the remains of Quartus Wright, a curiously named Pennsylvania farmer who late in his life moved to what is now Vineland, New Jersey. After several years of residence in the township of Landis, Wright was elected as a borough committeeman, and after that township voted to incorporate as the borough of Vineland, Quartus Wright was elected as its first mayor. Following his mayoralty, Wright continued residence in Vineland, and after his death in 1887 was returned to Pennsylvania for burial. On August 25th, 2022 I was able to visit his gravesite in Wrightsville, and some photos from the trip will conclude his profile here.
  Born (depending on the source) in either Genesee County or Onondaga County, New York on September 10, 1813, Quartus Wright was the last of eleven children born to Joshua (1771-1842) and Sybil (Loomis) Wright (1771-1852). The son of the founder of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, little information exists on Quartus's early life, except notice of his being a farmer in that town. Wright married in the mid-1830s to Olive Tuttle (1819-1885), with who he had three children, Newton Ferdinand (born 1837), Saphronia (1839-1875), and Dr. DeForest J. Wright (1843-1879).
  After decades of residence in Pennsylvania, Quartus Wright removed to what is now Vineland, New Jersey in 1867. Residing in the borough of Landis, Wright continued farming after his resettlement, being remarked as:

"a practical farmer of no little note, his corn, fruit, and clover being "unexcelled.''' 

  Wright began an interest in local politics in the 1870s, winning election to the Landis township committee, and later served several years as both treasurer and chairman. Upon the creation of the borough of Vineland in May 1880 Quartus Wright (then serving as chair of the Landis township committee) was elected as the borough's first mayor "by a small majority". He served one term, leaving office in 1881, and was remarked to have built a "showplace" home on Montrose street in that city. In early 1887 he suffered a paralytic stroke, and in March of that suffered a second stroke, which contributed to his death on March 7, 1887, at age 73. He was preceded in death by his wife Olive and two children and was briefly interred at the Siloam Cemetery in Vineland. Following an indeterminate period, he and his wife were returned to Pennsylvania for burial in the Wrightsville Cemetery, the same resting place as that of his parents and siblings.

                                                           From the Vineland Evening Journal, March 8, 1887.

 The grave of Quartus Wright at the Wrightsville Cemetery, Wrightsville, PA.