From the Colorado Assembly composite photo, 1891.
The first of two political figures named Ledyard, Ledyard Romulus Tucker was an obscure resident of Colorado who served one term in that state's house of representatives in the early 1890s. While little is known of his life, a small obituary published in the January 1920 edition of the Glenwood Post, helped significantly in terms of information. Born in Indiana on November 9, 1845, Ledyard Romulus Tucker relocated to Leadville, Colorado in 1874, hoping to gain his fortune in mining. He soon removed to Pitkin County, "being present at the big rush which brought Aspen to the notice of the mining world." In the years following his resettlement, he engaged in mining and farming and operated a mercantile store. At the time of his election to the Colorado legislature he is recorded as a cattleman residing in Elbert County, and in 1889 was serving as Elbert County commissioner. In 1890 he was elected to the state legislature and during the 1891-93 session was chairman of the committee on Stock, and was a member of the Fees and Salaries, Finance, and Ways and Means committees. Later in his life, Tucker was a resident of Basalt and married in January 1898 to Alice B. Lessley (1860-1938). He died in Basalt of heart trouble on January 15, 1920, aged 74, and was survived by his wife. Both were interred at the Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
From the Glenwood Post, January 17, 1920.
From the manual of the New York Constitutional Convention, 1915.
One of the standout figures in the Northern New York bar in the late 19th and early 20th century, Ledyard Park Hale served St. Lawrence County as both its district attorney and county judge; resigning the latter post to serve on the state board of charities. In one of his last acts of political service, Hale won election to the state constitutional convention of 1915, representing the 34th senate district. Hale is also one of the "old guard" strange-name political figures, his name first being located in a New York Red Book in the summer of 2000. For seventeen years Hale remained without a face to place with his name, with no photographs of him being discovered. That remained the norm until a chance discovery in 2017 of the above portrait in a 1915 manual of the state constitutional convention. Since that time two more rare portraits of him have been found, all of which will accompany his profile here.
A lifelong New Yorker, Ledyard Park Hale was born in Canton, St. Lawrence County on May 17, 1854, the son of Horace Winthrop and Betsey (Lewis) Hale. A student at the Canton Academy, Hale earned his bachelor of science degree from St. Lawrence University in 1876. Fitting himself for a career in law, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin's Law School and earned his degree in 1878. Removing to Madison following graduation, Hale practiced there before moving back to Canton, where in 1881 he married Georgette "Georgettie" Bacheller (1856-1938), to who he was wed for over forty years. The couple had two children, Irma Hale Pfund (birthdate unknown) and Horace Charles Hale (1888-1942). Ledyard Hale entered the public life of his county with his appointment as assistant district attorney in 1881, an office that he served for twelve years. He pulled political double duty beginning in 1890 with his election as Canton town supervisor, an office that he would hold until 1894. In August 1893 he received the Republican nomination for St. Lawrence County district attorney, and that November was elected. He served from 1894-1900, during which time he:
"Became Canton's loyal and brilliant supervisor, District Attorney of the County, figuring in some of the most prominent cases in its entire history, and acquiring distinction for his exceptional ability."
From the Buffalo Evening News, April 25, 1908.
Hale's two terms saw him secure convictions in the trial of Ogdensburgh's Frank Conroy who murdered his wife, and in the murder trial of Howard W. Burt. He retired as district attorney in 1899 and soon returned to private practice in Canton. He was called to public life once again in 1902 when the office of St. Lawrence County judge became vacant, and in that year Governor Benjamin Odell appointed him to fill the seat. He was reelected to a full term of his own in 1903, and during his final two years of service (1907-08) served in the additional capacity of commissioner of the State Board of Charities. He held both posts until his appointment as counsel for the state Public Service Commission in Albany in April 1908. Selected by Governor Charles Evans Hughes, Hale's appointment was looked upon favorably by the New York Press, with the Buffalo Evening News remarking:
"The selection of Judge Hale for counsel to the Public Service Commission is cordially approved by the bar of the state as that of a lawyer both ample in attainment of learning and flawless in qualities of judgment, tact and solid sense that make him capable of rendering the kind of service desired in the official work of the commission. His salary is $10,000 a year and expenses."
Hale was still in the position of the commission's counsel when he was elected as a delegate to the 1915 New York Constitutional Convention, during which time he served on the committees on Contingent Expenses, the Governor and Other State Officers, Public Utilities, and Rules. During the proceedings, Hale took part in the vigorous debate over possible minimum wage laws and old age pensions, and as chairman of the public utilities committee, recommended that public service commissioners be made constitutional officers who would be "protected from removal for political reasons."
From the Buffalo Evening News, May 3, 1908.
After the completion of the constitutional convention, Ledyard Hale returned to Canton, where he continued to practice law. His final years were spent affiliated with his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, having first been appointed to its board of trustees in 1884. From 1919 to 1922 he was board president. In 1923 he retired as Public Service Commission counsel, and in the last year of his life was troubled by heart issues. On June 5, 1926, he suffered an attack of paralysis at his home and died shortly thereafter at age 72. He was later interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Canton. He was subsequently memorialized by the Potsdam Commercial Advertiser as one of the first citizens of Canton, stating:
"Judge Hale was one of those rare men who touched the world, touched men, and touched life at many sides. Rarely do public men, in long service, possess that strength and moral force to keep unsullied by the passing mob. Here was the cleanly man with character and accomplishment, whose entire life bears close inspection. There is no mar--the soul of honor, and in his dealing fair and just."