Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Stroder McNeal Long (1840-1898)

From the Historical and Biographical History of Douglas County, Illinois, 1900.

   A farmer, banker and political figure from Douglas County, Illinois, Stroder McNeal Long represented that county for one term in the Illinois General Assembly, and in the year prior to his death was again the Republican candidate for the state assembly from Illinois' 40th district. A native of the Buckeye State, Stroder McNeal Long was born in Fayette County, Ohio on October 6, 1840, being the son of Andrew and Margaret (Mark) Long. The Long family relocated to Illinois in 1848 and, like many other young men of the time, Long would balance both farm and school work, working the family farm in the summer and attending school in the winter months. In 1860 he began an "academic course" in Paris, Illinois and in the following year enlisted for service in Co. E. of the 12th Illinois Infantry.
   Long's Civil War service proved to be brief, as he became severely ill and was honorably discharged after only three months service. Following his return home he farmed and taught school until removing to Douglas County in 1867. He would purchase eighty acres of farmland near the town of Newman, and married on February 4, 1872 to Mary Elizabeth Pound (1846-1941), with whom he had five children: Mabel Maude (born 1873), Potter Palmer (1874-1934), Garnet Alice (born 1879), Cecile Roxina (born 1882) and Fay Ellen (born 1888).
   In addition to farming and stock raising in Douglas County, Stroder Long also entered into local politics in the late 1870s, serving on the county board of supervisors from 1878-1879.  In 1884 he won election as Douglas County's representative to the Illinois General Assembly, and his one term of service (1885-87) saw him sit on the committees on Canals and Rivers, Education, Farm Drainage, House Contingent Expenses and State/Municipal Indebtedness.
   A year after leaving the legislature Stroder Long added the title of bank president to his resume, assuming the presidency of the Newman Bank. He would hold that post until his death in 1898 and during this time also attained prominence with the Newman Building and Loan Association, serving as one of its directors. In 1897 Long was again nominated for the state assembly but lost out that election year, placing fourth in a field of five candidates. He died on August 20th of the following year at age 58 and was survived by his wife Mary. Mary Pound Long survived her husband by over forty years, and following her death at age 94 was interred alongside him at the Newman Cemetery in Douglas County.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cecilius Risley Higgins (1847-1904)

Portrait from " Ice and Refrigeration", Volume 27, August 1904.

  2018 is upon us and with the dawn of new year comes something new here on the site...the inclusion of U.S. Postmasters of major American cities! Over the past few years I've accumulated a number of intriguingly named men and women who were appointed as U.S. Postmaster of a major city in the United States and, as it is the new year, have decided that they should warrant inclusion here. The position of U.S. Postmaster is an old one, and from 1836 to 1971 cities with larger populations and bigger post offices had their postmaster appointed by the President. Cecilius Risley Higgins, a native Hoosier who found distinction in the public life of Allen County, Indiana, is the first of these oddly named postmasters to be profiled, and was appointed as Postmaster of Ft. Wayne by then President Benjamin Harrison.
   Born on January 21, 1847 in the small village of Kalida in Putnam County, Ohio, Cecilius Risley "Ceil" Higgins removed to the neighboring town of Delphos whilst still a child, and his early education was obtained there. At the age of just thirteen Higgins entered the workforce, becoming a telegraph messenger boy under the employ of the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway. During this time Higgins began the study of telegraphy and would eventually advance to telegraph operator. After several years in that position he accepted the position of ticket and freight agent with the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. and in January 1868 removed to Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
  Following his resettlement in the Hoosier State Ceil Higgins was engaged as chief train dispatcher for the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway, a role he would fill for nine years. He married in May 1874 to West Virginia native Eleanor "Ella" Hale (1851-1936). The couple were wed until Cecilius' death in 1904 and would have three children, Cecilia (1875-1950), Gracie (1878-1880) Frederic (1880-1883) and Adah Louise (birth-date unknown).

From "Story of Our Post Office: The Greatest Department in All Its Phases", 1892.

    After leaving the post of chief train dispatcher in 1877 "Ceil" Higgins spent two years as a "fuel and tie agent" before taking on the position of chief clerk for the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway. In the mid 1880s he entered the political life of Allen County when he received the Republican nomination for county auditor. Although defeated that November, Higgins ran "2,700 ahead of his ticket" and in 1888 served as treasurer of the Allen County Republican committee. With the Republicans claiming victory in the 1888 election year, President elect Benjamin Harrison had a number of office seekers to appoint, and Cecilius Risley Higgins was one of the men chosen to serve as a postmaster. 
  Taking the reins as U.S. Postmaster at Ft. Wayne in 1889, Higgins served four years in that post and filled the office "with signal ability." In 1891 he was profiled (along with several other Hoosier postmasters) in the Indianapolis Journal, which lauded his efficiency, noting that he
"Has effected marked improvements in the carrier service, reducing the advertised letter list from an average of sixty-five a week to about eleven; and the general delivery window is kept open two hours later, which, with other improvements, places Fort Wayne on a metropolitan footing."
  Higgin's tenure as postmaster extended through the Harrison administration (1889-1893) and several years after leaving office found further prominence in the Ft. Wayne business community, becoming manager of the Ft. Wayne Artificial Ice Co. This business later underwent a name change to the Higgins Artificial Ice Company and Higgins himself would assume the titles of president and manager of the business. He would remain affiliated with that company until his death at age 57 on July 17, 1904, dying at the St. Joseph's Hospital in Ft. Wayne from the affects of Bright's disease and uremic poisoning. He was survived by his wife Ella, who, following her death in 1936, was interred alongside him at the Lindenwood Cemetery in Ft. Wayne.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Summerfield Massilon Glenn Gary (1826-1886)


   It has become customary the past four years to set aside the year's final posting to an especially strange named figure, and this year's honoree is certainly worthy of the title of 'Strangest Name of the Year". Following in the stead of such odd name luminaries like Peru Italian Blackerby Ping and Uno Sylvanus Augustus Heggblom, Florida lawyer Summerfield Massilon Glenn Gary lucked into receiving a real whopper of a name, and his inclusion here on the site rests on service as a Marion County delegate to the Florida Secession Convention of 1861.
  A native of South Carolina, Summerfield M.G. Gary was born Cokesbury, Greenwood County on October 10, 1826, being the son of Dr. Thomas Reeder and Mary (Porter) Gary. A distinguished figure in his own right, Thomas R. Gary (1802-1852) served several terms in the South Carolina legislature and for a time held the post of treasurer of the Greenville and Columbia Railroad. Recorded by most period sources under the initials S.M.G. Gary, Summerfield M.G. Gary's early education occurred in his hometown of Cokesbury, attending the Methodist Home Conference School. He would later enroll at the South Carolina at Columbia, and following his graduation in 1848 began the study of law under future U.S. Senator James Chesnut Jr. (1815-1885).
  Admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1851, Gary married a short while later to Frances "Fannie" Rosa Gary (ca. 1834-1914). The couple would have at least five children, Thomas R. (1853-1912), Maud Witherspoon (1859-1933), S.M.G. Jr. (1861-1873), Louella Victoria (1875-1954) and William Theodore (1876-1959). In 1855 Gary and his wife removed to Ocala, Florida, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. Here Gary established a law practice that would see him advance to the front rank of Ocala public life, and in the succeeding years was acknowledged as a man of noble character, and 
"like a towering cliff he caught the rays of the sun of progress before its beams could reach the horizon of common minds."
   In 1860 Gary was selected as one of Marion County's delegates to the Florida Secession Convention, and in January 1861 traveled to Tallahassee to begin service. During the convention proceedings he was named to the committees on Communications from South Carolina, the Judiciary, Militia and Internal Police, and Schools and Colleges. Following Florida's entrance into the Civil War Gary entered into the Confederate Army and for a year's duration was a captain in a local infantry unit. After being wounded Gary was transferred to a cavalry unit and served as an aide de camp to his younger brother, Brigadier General Martin Witherspoon Gary (1831-1881) until war's conclusion. 
  At the the time of his discharge from service S.M.G. Gary had attained the rank of Colonel and following his return to Ocala returned to practicing law. Sources of the time denote Gary as "Intendent" of Ocala in 1867, and is referred to as the mayor of that city prior to its incorporation the following year. Gary's later years saw him become a early advocate for the planting of citrus trees for profit in Florida, and 
"Through his persistent agitation on the subject many citizens were led to engage in this business, which he lived to see the principle industry of his state."
  Two years prior to his death S.M.G. Gary began construction on the three story Gary building in Ocala, a building that would later become home to both a hardware and five and dime store. This structure replaced an earlier wooden one that had been destroyed by fire and following Gary's death in 1886 passed into the hands of his son William and daughter Maud. After many years of prominence in Ocala, Summerfield Massilon Glenn Gary died in that city on December 20, 1886 at age 60.  Memorialized as "generous towards his friends,  forgiving to his enemies" and a "scholar, a lawyer, a citizen and a man", Gary was survived by his wife Fanny and four of his children and was interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Ocala.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wiltz Gleason Kirklin (1912-1997)

Portrait courtesy of the Texas Legislative Reference Library.

   A two term member of the Texas House of Representatives from Ector County, Wiltz Gleason "Cotton" Kirklin was a veteran of WWII and following his service in the legislature went on to further recognition, being a member of both the Texas Building Commission and the Texas Health Facilities Commission. The son of Aaron and Georgie Lou Kirklin, Wiltz G. Kirklin was born on February 4, 1912 in Mooringsport, Louisiana. He was a student at the high school in the city of his birth and following his graduation in 1929 attended both Texas Christian University and Baylor University. 
  In 1936 Kirklin received a bachelor's degree in business from Baylor University and around this same time married to Opal Mae Layton (1913-1989). The couple were wed for over five decades and would have two sons, Layton (born ca. 1937) and Donald Frank (born 1948). Shortly after his graduation Kirklin entered into the oil business in Odessa, Texas, and after a brief stint of employment by the Gulf Oil Co. worked as a private oil driller. In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and during the Second World War served in Europe, eventually attaining the rank of Captain. 
  Following his return from service Kirklin returned to his oil drilling business and also  engaged in irrigation farming and heavy equipment sales. In 1952 he was elected as Ector County's representative to the Texas state legislature and during his first term (1953-55) held seats on the committees on Common Carriers, Federal Relations, Military and Veteran's Affairs, Oil, Gas and Mining and Revenue and Taxation. He won a second term in the house during the 1954 election year and during this term sat on two new committees, those being Motor Vehicles and State Affairs.
  In his last year in the legislature W.G. Kirklin was appointed by then Governor Allan Shivers to the Board of Texas Hospitals and Special Schools. Following two years of service on the Texas State Building Commission (1963-65) Kirklin would be reappointed to that board by Governor Price Daniel and in 1965 was tapped to serve as assistant commissioner of the then recently established Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He would serve in that capacity until his retirement in 1977, and six years later returned to public service when he was appointed by Governor Mark White to chair the Texas Health Facilities Commission
  Kirklin retired from the above named post in 1986 and in 1989 suffered the loss of his wife of over fifty years, Opal Mae. He himself died on May 9, 1997 at age 85 and was later interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Arioch Wentworth Griffiths (1851-1934)

Portrait courtesy of the town of Durham, New Hampshire, 1902.

   For many years distinguished in the civic life of Durham, New Hampshire, Arioch Wentworth Griffith won election to several local political offices in that town and in 1910 was an unsuccessful candidate for the New Hampshire state house of representatives. A lifelong resident of the Granite State, Griffiths was born on August 31, 1851, the son of John B. and Ruth (Wentworth) Griffiths. He received his unusual first and middle names in honor of his maternal uncle Arioch Wentworth (1813-1903), a Boston based multi-millionaire soapstone and marble magnate with substantial real estate holdings. 
   Young Arioch began his education in the common schools and would go on to attend the Newmarket High School and the Franklin Academy at Dover. As the son of a prominent Durham farmer, Arioch (as well as his brother Edward) inherited their family's 200 acre farm and in addition to farm work operated a vinegar and cider mill, an operation that could produce "one hundred barrels per day." 
   Arioch Griffiths married in June 1876 to Sadie B. McDaniel (1856-1943). The couple's fifty-seven year union would see the birth of one son, John H. Griffiths, in 1877. A prominent figure in the local chapters of the Knights of Pythias, Griffiths was a member of both the Newmarket chapter of that organization as well as a founding figure of the group's lodge in Durham. Griffiths was also a longstanding member of the Sons of the American Revolution and engaged in banking, being a past director of the Newmarket National Bank.
   The holder of a number of political offices in Durham, Arioch Griffiths served at various times as town meeting moderator, census enumerator, road agent, deputy sheriff and for two terms was town selectman. In 1910 he set his sights on a seat in the state legislature, and in that election year faced off against Democratic candidate Albert DeMerritt, a former member of the state board of agriculture and state constitutional convention delegate. On election day it was DeMerritt who emerged triumphant, garnering 117 votes to Griffiths' 70.
   Following his legislative loss Griffiths served as a justice of the peace in Durham and was an assistant quartermaster general for the William A. Frye Co., No.5. of the Knights of Pythias. He died in Durham on April 1, 1934 at age 82 and was survived by his wife Sadie. Sadie McDaniel Griffiths survived her husband by nearly a decade, and following her death in 1943 was interred at the Griffiths Cemetery alongside her husband.

Portrait from "New Hampshire Agriculture: Personal and Farm Sketches", 1897.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Deaderick Chandler Dungan (1899-1983)

Portrait from the 1949 North Carolina State Manual.

    A one term member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Deaderick Chandler Dungan had earlier served a term as mayor of the city of Salisbury. A native of Arkansas, Chandler was born in Little Rock on October 6, 1899, being the son of John Morgan and Anne Mitchell Dungan. A student at the Little Rock High School, Dungan would attend the New Mexico Military Institute at Roswell from 1916-18 and also studied at Cornell University.
   Towards the conclusion of American involvement in the First World War Deaderick Dungan began training at the Officers Training Corps at Fort Monroe in Virginia. His state military career would continue with his service in the North Carolina State Guard from 1941-47, having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dungan married in November 1924 to Vivian May Gregory (1900-1971), with whom he had two daughters, Anne and Jeanne.
   A tractor and farm implement dealer in Salisbury for a number of years, Dungan entered city political life in 1937 when he was elected to the city council. He would win election as mayor of Salisbury in 1938 (serving from 1939-41) and following his term was returned to the city council, holding his seat until 1947. In 1948 Dungan was elected as Rowan County's representative to the North Carolina General Assembly, and during his one term (1949-51) held seats on several house committees, those being Conservation and Development; Counties, Cities and Towns; Finance; Manufactures and Labor; Military Affairs; Public Utilities; Public Welfare; Roads and Wildlife Resources.
   A member of the Knights of Pythias, Elks Lodge and the American Legion, Deaderick Dungan continued to reside in Salisbury following his term, and was recorded as a fertilizer plant owner. Widowed in 1971, Dungan died in Salisbury on March 19, 1983 and was later interred at the Memorial Park Cemetery in that city.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Parkhurst Ward Cutler (1848-1930)

Portrait from the Biographical Review of Hancock County, Illinois, 1907.

  A longtime resident of Hancock County, Illinois, Parkhurst Ward Cutler pledged allegiance to the Democratic party for a good majority of his life, until joining the Prohibition party in the mid 1880s. A Prohibition candidate for the Illinois State Board of Equalization (as well as several local offices), Cutler would also receive that party's nomination for U.S. Representative from Illinois' 14th congressional district in 1912. The son of Nathan and Hannah (Ward) Cutler, Parkhurst Ward Cutler was born in Fulton County, Illinois of February 27, 1847.The Cutler family resettled in Hancock County when their son was but five years old, and young Parkhurst would attend the "common schools" in the area, as well as working the family farm and briefly studying at the Central College in Pella, Iowa
   After attaining maturity, Cutler purchased 120 acres of land near Carthage, Illinois and established himself as a farmer and stock-raiser. He would subsequently purchase additional property to expand his fields and would be later acknowledged as "probably the most extensive stock feeder in Carthage township, usually shipping about two hundred fat cattle per year." Cutler's prominence in stock-raising saw him be the first farmer to introduce Hereford cattle to Carthage township, and also exhibited his stock at several fairs during his life.
   Parkhurst Cutler married on hist twenty-fourth birthday in 1871 to Fannie Gage Barker (1838-1933). The couples marriage extended nearly sixty years and their union would see the births of two sons, Nathan Barker (1873-1953) and Ward Augustus (1875-1953). 
   An adherent of the Democratic party until the mid 1880s, Cutler switched political allegiance to the Prohibition party in 1884, becoming a "stalwart champion of the cause of temperance." A candidate of that party for several local political offices, Cutler made his first run for state office in 1900, becoming a candidate for the Illinois State Board of Equalization from the 15th district. On election day he received just 878 votes, well behind Republican candidate John Cruttenden's winning total of 24, 510. In 1912 Cutler returned to politics, receiving the Prohibition nomination for U.S. Representative from his state's 14th congressional district. As one of four candidates that year, Cutler garnered a meager 680 votes that November, losing out to Democratic candidate Clyde Tavenner's winning vote of 17, 024
   A former director of the Harmony Mutual Fire Insurance Company and a longtime Baptist church member, Parkhurst W. Cutler continued to reside in Carthage, Illinois until his death at age 82 on May 3, 1930. His widow Fannie followed him to the grave three years later at age 94, and both were interred at the Moss Ridge Cemetery in Carthage.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Other Vernon Woodrome (1896-1973)

Portrait courtesy of Ark-Ives.

   Marianna, Arkansas native Other Vernon Woodrome is another odd named man who held political office in the "Natural State", serving one term in the state legislature from Lee County. The son of A.C. and Phenie (Waddell) Woodrome, Other Vernon "O.V. Woodrome was born in Greenbrier, Arkansas on January 28, 1896. Woodrome would attend schools local to Faulkner County, Arkansas and also was a student at the  University of Arkansas and Arkansas State Teachers College (receiving his A.B. degree at the latter.)
   O.V. Woodrome married in August 1917 to Willie Edna Lawrence (1898-1991), with whom he had one son, John Vernon (1919-2002). A veteran of WWI, Woodrome would serve in the U.S. Navy as a seaman from 1917-1919. A farmer and teacher in Marianna for the majority of his life, Woodrome was also a member of the local Mason and Elks lodges, as well as the Farm Bureau. In 1936 Woodrome won election to the Arkansas House of Representatives and during his one term (1937-1939) held seats on the following committees: Education, Levies and Drainage, Militia and the Penitentiary.
  Little else could be found on Woodrome's life following his time in state government, excepting notice of his death in Conway, Arkansas on November 21, 1973 at age 77. He was survived by his wife and son and was interred at the Crestlawn Cemetery in Conway

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Arlander Denson Dulaney (1877-1952)

Portrait from the Annual Report of the Arkansas Insurance Department, 2009.

  Lifelong Arkansas resident Arlander Denson Dulaney rose to become a leading lawyer in Little River County, and in addition to practicing law was elected to four consecutive terms in his state's house of representatives. Late in his life Dulaney would be returned to government service, holding the post of state insurance commissioner for two years. The son of the Rev. Thomas Dulaney (a Baptist minister) and the former Amanda McCasey, Arlander D. Dulaney was born in Sevier County, Arkansas on August 26, 1877.
  A student in the Sevier County public schools, Dulaney later attended the University of Arkansas for two years before taking on a teaching position in Little River County, which he would follow for eight years. In the early 1900s Dulaney enrolled in the law department of the University of Arkansas and, following his graduation in 1905, established his first law practice in the town of Ashdown. He married on October 6, 1909 to Elizabeth Nix Corbett (1890-1980), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have at least one daughter, Elizabeth Nix Dulaney Galloway.
  Several years following his settlement in Ashdown Dulaney joined fellow attorneys James Steel and J.S. Lake in the firm of Steel, Lake and Dulaney, a firm that enjoyed an "extensive and prosperous business." Dulaney first entrance into the political life of his state came with his election to the Arkansas House of Representatives in September 1902. He would win a second term in September 1904 and his third term in 1906, and by the time of his fourth legislative victory in September 1908 was noted as having been the "only member of the house that had served his constituents four consecutive terms as representative." A member of a number of important committees during his eight years in the house, Dulaney would chair the committee on Appropriations during the 1907-10 sessions.
   Both prior to and after his legislative service Dulaney was engaged with several business concerns, both in Little River County and elsewhere. Amongst these were the Southern Realty and Trust Company (of which he would serve as vice-president), the Arkansas Trust and Banking Company (serving as its attorney) and was a member of the State Historical Commission for his home county of Little River.
   Dulaney was returned to political life in November 1916 when he entered into the post of prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Ninth Chancery Circuit, an office he'd hold until 1921.  In 1931 he was appointed as State Commissioner of Insurance, succeeding W.E. Floyd, who had served two terms in office. Dulaney's term (1931-33) saw him pull political "double-duty", as it were, serving as state fire marshal in addition to his post of commissioner. During his time in office Dulaney also announced he'd be seeking a seat in Congress from Arkansas' 4th legislative district. Hoping to succeed Effiegene Wingo (who had declined renomination) Dulaney's candidacy did't extend past the primary season, and William Ben Cravens would eventually be elected to the seat.
  Arlander Dulaney continued to serve Arkansas well into his twilight years, being an executive assistant commissioner in the state insurance department in 1942. Dulaney died in Ashdown on June 4, 1952 at age 74. He was later interred at the Ashdown Cemetery, and was survived by his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1980 at age 90.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meverell Knox Allen (1846-1919)

From the 1892 "History of Kentucky".

  A longtime physician based in Louisville, Kentucky, Meverell Knox Allen had a brief stay on his state's political stage in the late 19th century, being a delegate to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention of 1890-91. The son of James and Caroline (Muir) Allen, Meverell K. Allen was born on April 15, 1846 in Spencer County, Kentucky. His early education was obtained in schools local to Spencer County, and following a one year stint as a school teacher decided upon a career in medicine. He would study medicine under Taylorsville physician Thomas Allen beginning in 1864 and later enrolled in the University of Louisville's department of medicine. Allen earned his medical degree in 1867 and shortly thereafter opened his practice in Taylorsville. 
  In the same year as his graduation Allen married to Bloomfield, Kentucky native Sue Miles. The marriage proved to be brief, as Miles is recorded as dying shortly afterward. In 1869 Allen remarried, taking as his wife one Eliza Stone (1852-1886), with whom he would have one daughter, Maud Katie (1872-1905).
  Meverell K. Allen's residency in Taylorsville extended until 1870, whereafter he removed to Louisville. Following his resettlement he returned to practicing medicine and in 1874 was elected as that city's health officer, a position he would hold until 1877. In 1880 he was named as physician for the Louisville city work house, and in addition to medicine was also heavily involved in Louisville educational affairs, being a school trustee and president of the city school board (holding the latter office from 1888-90.)
  Active in several business concerns in Louisville, Allen was a former president of the Daisy Realty Company and a director of the Snider Land and Stock Company. He also attained distinction in banking, serving as director of the Westview Savings Bank and Building Company and was vice president of the Standard National Savings and Loan Association. 
  Allen's most prominent foray into state politics came in 1890 when he was elected as a delegate from Louisville's 2nd district to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention. During the convention proceedings Allen sat on the committees on Elections, Education and Railroads & Commerce, and also offered a resolution wanting to amend the then existing state constitution to 
"Establish three Magisterial Districts for the city of Louisville in lieu of the City Court of said city, which shall be abolished, together with all officers connected therewith; said Magisterial Districts so established to have criminal jurisdiction, and civil jurisdiction to the extent of three hundred dollars."
Portrait courtesy of the Kentucky State Historical Society.

  Following his constitutional convention service Allen again served as health officer for the city of Louisville and for a number of years was retained as medical director for the Inter-Southern Life Insurance Company. On March 13, 1919 Allen died of heart disease at his Louisville home and was later interred alongside his wife and daughter at the famed Cave Hill Cemetery in that city.