Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Taddy Owen James (1863-1934)

Portrait from the Chronicles of Oklahoma,  Vol. 14, No.1, 1934.

   The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention of 1906-07 could boast of a few oddly named delegates, and following yesterday's profile on Delphos Green Harned we highlight the life of Taddy Owen James, a delegate to the aforementioned convention from Oklahoma's 1st district. Born in Dodgeville Wisconsin on January 15, 1863, Taddy O. James was the son of the Rev. William Eynon and Hannah (Edmund) James, both natives of Wales.
  Taddy O. James married in 1897 to Mary Elizabeth Maughan (1862-1926), with whom he had two children, William Edmund (1899-1981) and Elsie Mae (1902-1989). Following his resettlement in the Oklahoma Territory in September 1897 James purchased a ranch near Guymon, where he raised stock. In 1904 he became secretary of the newly established Stockmen of Northwest Oklahoma, an organization that aimed to keep "the range free in that locality." James would also help draft the by-laws and rules of that group and it completed permanent organization in March 1904.
   James entered the political life of the territory for the first time in July 1904, when he received the Democratic nod for County Commissioner for Beaver County's 3rd district. He would win the election that November and in 1906 was President of the County Board of Commissioners. That same year James continued to raise his public profile by serving as one of Beaver County's delegates to the 14th National Irrigation Congress in Boise, Idaho.
   In November 1906 Taddy O. James was elected as a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention that would convene at Guthrie. He resigned his position on the board of county commissioners that December and during the convention proceedings served on the committees on Agriculture, Privileges and Elections, Revenue and Taxation, Salaries and Compensation of Public Officers and State and School Lands.
   Following his time at the constitutional convention James returned to his ranch in Beaver County and in October 1907 added the title of railroad director to his resume, becoming one of several directors of the newly chartered Guymon and Southern Railroad Co. In the early 1920s James sold his ranch and removed with his wife Mary to Des Moines, New Mexico. Widowed in 1926, James spent the remainder of his life in Des Moines, dying there on July 8, 1934 at age 71. He and his wife were both interred at the Des Moines Cemetery in that town.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Delphos Green Harned (1872-1949)

Portrait from the 1912 Oklahoma Red Book.

  We continue our stay in Oklahoma for a peek at the life of Delphos Green Harned, a transplant to that state from Breckinridge County, Kentucky. A farmer and clothing merchant following his resettlement, Harned served as a member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention of 1906-1907, helping to frame the laws of the then newly admitted 46th state. Born on January 11, 1872 in Hudson, Kentucky, Delphos G. Harned was one of several children born to Henry Clay and Martha Jane (Green) Harned.
   Little is known of Harned's life in Kentucky, excepting notice of his marriage n Breckinridge County to Euzada Americus "Zada" Board in January 1895. The couple's fifty-four year union saw the births of six children, Wallace Elbert (1896-1911), Owen Gilbert (1898-1983), Wilbur Lee (1901-1970), Edith Irene (1904-1997), Velma Beatrice (1907-1988) and Harle Cruce (1911-1983).
  By the late 1890s Delphos Harned had removed to Oklahoma and after establishing roots in the town of Ringwood farmed and raised stock. In 1906 he was elected as a Democratic delegate from the territory's 9th district to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention that was to be held in Guthrie. Taking his seat in late 1906, Harned served on the committees on Education, Enrollment, Privileges and Elections, State and School Lands, Liquor Traffic and Public Health and Sanitation.

From the Breckinridge News, February 20, 1907.

  Some time following his service in the state constitutional convention Delphos Harned resettled in Durant, Oklahoma. Here he would establish Harned's, a store that sold men and women's clothing, including shoes, hats, undergarments and suits. Little is known of Harned's life after this point, excepting mention of his residing in Guthrie, Oklahoma in the early 1920s. Harned died in Stillwater, Oklahoma on April 7, 1949 at age 77. His wife Zada survived him by one year, and following her death in December 1950 was interred alongside him at the Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Clarous Rouser Johnston (1880-1936)

Portrait from the 1905 Indiana law school composite.

   Native Hoosier Clarous Rouser Johnston would find distinction in Oklahoma law circles following his resettlement in Caddo County in the late 1900s, and earns placement here on the site due to his service as Judge of Caddo County, a post he would first seek in 1912. The son of Alfred Homer and Debbie (Morgan) Johnson, Clarous R. Johnson was born on September 24, 1880 in Monroe County, Indiana.
   Johnston attended school in Harrodsburg and after graduating from the local high school in 1896 began a teaching career in Monroe County that extended into the 1900s. He would serve intermittently as a principal and in 1902 enrolled in the law department of the University of Indiana. He earned his bachelor of laws degree in 1905 and shortly thereafter established his first practice in Bloomington. Johnston's stay in that city proved to be brief, as he removed to Bedford, Indiana the following year. Johnston practiced law in Bedford until December 1909, when he pulled up stakes once again, this time relocating to Caddo County, Oklahoma.
   As a young lawyer in an expansive territory (Oklahoma wouldn't be admitted as state until 1912) Johnston saw a bright opportunities for himself, and after a brief residence in the village of Bridgeport settled in the city of Anadarko, then a city of about 3,000 residents. He would return to Indiana in 1911 to wed Lula G. Cobb (1888-1982) in December of that year. The couple were wed until Clarous' death in 1936 and would have one daughter, Frances, born in 1912.
   Soon after his arrival in Anadarko Johnston formed a law firm with R.K. Robinson and in 1912 made his first move into Oklahoma politics, becoming the Democratic candidate for Caddo County judge. Johnston lost out on election day that year to Republican C. Ross Hume (1878-1960). In 1913 Johnston was elected as City Attorney for Anadarko, and held that post until his resignation in 1914, when he was again a candidate for county judge. Johnston was the victor at the polls that November and officially entered into his duties in January 1915.
   Sources of the time relate that Johnston proved to be "unusually capable and energetic as county judge", and relected to two further terms on the bench in 1916 and 1918. However, Johnston would resign in October 1919 and sometime later removed back to Indiana, his reasons for doing so being unknown at this time.
  By 1923 Clarous Johnston was residing in his old town of Bedford and following his return to Indiana reentered politics, being a Democratic candidate for judge of the Indiana's circuit court for the 40th judicial district in the May 1924 primary. Of three candidates that year, Johnston placed third with 2, 135 votes, losing out to Oren O. Swails winning total of 3,705. Little information could be located on Johnston's life after this election, excepting notice of his death in Indiana on January 24, 1936 at age 55. He was survived by his wife Lula, who, following her death in 1982 at age 93 was interred alongside her husband at the Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford.

Johnston during his time at the University of Indiana.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Finette Benson Nichols (1864-1948)

Portrait from 1945-46 Connecticut State Register.

   The recent discovery of the name of Finette Benson Nichols comes as a welcome surprise, as oddly named female political figures remain difficult to come by! An eight term member of the Connecticut House of Representatives between 1931 and 1947, Nichols etched her name into the history books when she became the first woman to represent Fairfield in the state legislature.
   One of three daughters born to John and Finette Edwards (Benson) Nichols, Finette B. Nichols was born in Fairfield on November 5, 1864. She received her education at the Fairfield Academy and for over two decades was employed as a private secretary to Henry L. Morehouse, the head of the American Baptist Society in New York City. Nichols would also work as a nurse during the Spanish American War, and later was a founder of the Family Welfare Society. 
   It wasn't until after entering her sixth decade that Nichols decided to enter politics. Although women had received the right to vote in 1920 Nichols was remarked to have been "opposed to the suffrage movement", believing that voting was a privilege reserved for men. Despite her feelings regarding the suffrage question, Nichols lost no time entering the political life of Fairfield following the passage of the 19th amendment, being a member of the Fairfield town Republican committee and in 1923 was a candidate for Fairfield County Commissioner
   In 1930 Nichols was elected as one of two representatives from Fairfield to the Connecticut legislature, receiving 2,076 votes. She would be reelected to a further seven terms in the state house and her lengthy term of service saw her serve on the committees on Claims, Public Welfare, Human Institutions, Labor, Towns and Cities.
  Nichols' final term in the legislature concluded in 1947 and she died the following year at age 83. Nichols had never married and was interred at the Fairfield East Cemetery, the same resting place as that of her parents.

Nichols during her time in the legislature.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Eliphus Hibbard Rogers (1830-1881)

Portrait from Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska.

   I always welcome a new strange name discovery from Nebraska, and in the near six years this site has been online just nine political figures from the Cornhusker State have warranted write-ups here. With the addition of Eliphus Hibbard Rogers (a member of the Nebraska territorial council and state senate) that number grows slightly, and I was extremely pleased to have located not only ample information on this otherwise obscure figure, but also a portrait!
  A native of Herkimer County, New York, Eliphus Hibbard Rogers was born in the town of Litchfield on January 12, 1830, being the son of the Rev. Lucius Cary (1801-1872) and Fanny Rogers. Young Eliphus worked the family farm during his childhood and attended common schools. He later studied at the O.C. Seminary in Cazenovia, New York and after reaching age sixteen began a brief career as a school teacher. Rogers married in September 1851 to Lucy Jane Groff (1832-1904) and later purchased a farm, which he worked until he and his wife removed to Illinois. The couple would have three children, Bertha, Ida and a child who died in infancy.
  Rogers' stay in Illinois proved to be brief, and he soon relocated to Jefferson, Wisconsin, where he farmed, studied law and taught school during the wintertime. In 1856 Rogers left Wisconsin for Nebraska, and after a brief stay in Omaha established himself in the then burgeoning city of Fremont. Rogers farmed and also cut timber as a means of income, and in 1858 was admitted to the Nebraska bar. In the year following Rogers began service as a representative for Dodge County in the territorial legislature and served until 1860, when he caught the gold rush bug and began preparations for a journey to Pike's Peak in Colorado
   Rogers' Colorado sojourn saw him joined by his family, and after erecting a log cabin near Denver began his law practice. In early 1861 he would be elected as a "judge for the miner's court" and in the fall of that year returned with his family to Fremont. Following his return Rogers engaged in the freighting business and in 1863 won election as Douglas County clerk, a post he'd continue to hold until 1867. In the fall of 1866 he was elected to the Nebraska Territorial Council and senate and in early 1867 took part in legislative proceedings that discussed a "black suffrage amendment" and Nebraska statehood, which was achieved that February. During his service (1867-1869) Rogers served as president of both of those bodies and also began to dabble in banking, being the founder of the E.H. Rogers and Co., a private bank that would evolve in the First National Bank of Fremont in 1872.

From the Pen Sketches of Nebraskans, 1871.

   Following his time in the legislature Eliphus Rogers was talked of as a potential candidate for U.S. Senator from Nebraska, and in 1870 was boomed as one of three candidates for that office. This senatorial contest was pitched between incumbent Republican John Milton Thayer (who had been elected in 1867), former territorial delegate Phineas Hitchcock, and Rogers. As this election was held prior to 1913 (the year the seventeenth amendment was passed that provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators), the outcome would be decided by the Nebraska legislature. This "long drawn out balloting" was later eased by Rogers stepping out of the race and giving his support to Hitchcock, who would be elected.
   Active in religious affairs both prior to and after his service in state government, Rogers was selected as a lay delegate from Nebraska to the general conference of the Methodist church held in Brooklyn, New York. He would again serve as a delegate in 1876 and following a period of impaired health decided to remove to Florida in 1877. Between 1877 and 1880 Rogers would move between Florida and New Mexico, and in 1881 received the appointment as U.S. Consul at Vera Cruz. In July 1881 the still ill Rogers sailed from New York to Vera Cruz and after reaching his destination on the 15th of that month entered into his duties. His time as consul proved to be short, as he died on August 1, 1881 at age 51. 
  Shortly after his death Rogers was entombed in a vault in a Vera Cruz Cemetery. His remains were transferred back to Nebraska five years later and re-interred at the Ridge Cemetery in Fremont. His widow Lucy would also be interred at this cemetery following her death in 1904.

From the Omaha Daily Bee, August 3, 1881.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Moffett Delone Johnson (1859-1936)

From the 1912-16 Mississippi State Register.

   Moffett Delone Johnson is another obscure Mississippi state representative, serving one term in his state's legislature from Wilkinson County. A son of Thomas Craddock and Madeline (Bolding) Johnson, Moffett D. Johnson was born in the aforementioned county on February 5, 1859. He was a student in schools local to Wilkinson County and beginning in his youth worked at farming, a vocation that continued through the remainder of his life
   Johnson married in December 1878 to Kate Miller (1859-1941), with whom he had several children, including: Christian Delone (born 1879), Robert Graham (1882-1954), Eliza (born 1886), Mary Estelle (born 1888), Katie (born 1890), Walter Seth (1892-1947), Corinne (born 1895), Sherman (born 1898) and Mabel (born 1902). 
   A prominent Democrat in Wilkinson County, Moffett D. Johnson served several years on the county's Democratic executive committee, and was a member of the local Farmer's Union. Elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in November 1911, Johnson served during the 1912-16 term and held seats on the committees on Agriculture, Census and Apportionment, Claims, County Affairs and the Penitentiary. 
  Little information is available on Johnson's life following his term, excepting notice of his death in 1936 and his burial at the Macedonia Cemetery in Wilkinson County, under the name "Moffette D. Johnson". Curiously, Johnson's wife Kate was interred at a different cemetery, her burial occurring at the Gloster Cemetery in Amite County, Mississippi.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Swepson Taylor Clayton (1855-1904)

Portrait from the Official and Statistical Register of Mississippi, 1904.

  Following our write-up on Quitman County, Mississippi attorney Partee Lovelace Denton we journey to the neighboring county of Tate to examine the life of two term state representative Swepson Taylor Clayton, for many years a teacher in that county. The son of Joshua Swepson and Nancy Irene (Turner) Clayton, Swepson T. Clayton was born in Mississippi on March 13, 1855. 
  A student in schools local to the Desoto County, Mississippi area, Clayton married in March 1876 to Emma Julia Tulley (1858-1937), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have eight children: Lillie (1879-1967), Brigham Shands (1881-1899), James Norman (1885-1966), Belle (1888-1975), Winnie (1893-1971), Ira Earl (1895-1902),  Swepson Taylor Jr. (1901-1957) and Dorah George.
  For over two decades Swepson T. Clayton was a teacher in various Mississippi schools and in 1875 made his first move into politics, serving as the chairman of the Tate County Democratic committee. In 1899 he was elected to his first term in the Mississippi House of Representatives and during the 1900-04 session served on the committees on Enrolled Bills, Propositions and Grievances, the Penitentiary, Public Lands and Roads Ferries and Bridges.
  Swepson T. Clayton won his second term in the legislature in November 1903 and served until his resignation due to ill health on January 30, 1904. Just one week following his resignation Clayton died on February 6, being just 48 years old. He was survived by his wife Emma and both were interred at the Singleton Springs Cemetery in Strayhorn, Mississippi.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Partee Lovelace Denton (1900-1976)

Portrait from the 1925 Ole Miss yearbook.

   Today marks a return to Mississippi with a brief write-up on longtime Quitman County lawyer Partee Lovelace Denton, so far the only political figure named "Partee" that I've managed to locate. A lifelong Mississippi resident, Denton served two terms as County Attorney of Quitman County and was the nephew of another oddly named Quitman County political figure, Manford Esca Denton (1872-1935), a former state representative and county judge.
  Born in Belen, Mississippi on August 6, 1900, Partee Lovelace Denton was the son of Ira Claude and Birdie Bobo Denton. Denton's early education took place at the Castle Heights Military Academy in Tennessee and later Vanderbilt University. He earned his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Mississippi in the class of 1925 and his time at that institution was remarked as:
 "A good student, a steady worker, and a winning personality, he should some day grace the bench and add another to our distinguished roll."
   Shortly after his graduation Denton began a brief connection with the Union and Planters Bank in Memphis, Tennessee. After several months in their employ Denton returned to Mississippi and established a law firm in the town of Marks with his uncle Manford, a practice that would continue until 1928. Partee L. Denton married at a unknown date to Louise Ward (1908-2001), to whom he was wed until his death in 1976. The couple are believed to have remained childless.
   In 1928 Partee L. Denton was elected as Quitman County attorney, being defeated for reelection in November 1931 by Richard M. Boone. Denton was returned to the county attorney's office in 1934, being reappointed to that post in the wake of the death of Arthur A. Pogue, serving until 1938. Following this second term little could be found on Denton's life excepting notice of his continuing practice and his being an alternate delegate from Mississippi to the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where Harry Truman was nominated for the Presidency. Partee L. Denton's death occurred in March 1976. He was survived by his wife Louise and was interred at the Belen Cemetery in Belen, Mississippi

Portrait from the 1924 Ole Miss yearbook.