Monday, December 15, 2014

Vaneverie Bascom Cozby (1875-1949)

Dr. V.B. Cozby at the Lions Club of Grand Saline, courtesy of the Van Zandt Co. Genealogical Society.

    Today marks a return to Texas to highlight the life of yet another strangely named Lone Star state public official, and I think you'll agree that he possesses one of the oddest names I've come across in quite a while.....Vaneverie Bascom Cozby! A resident of the city of Grand Saline, Mr. Cozby's placement here on the site rests on his near three decade tenure as mayor of Grand Saline, a lengthy term of office that brings to mind another long serving Texas mayor that was profiled recently, one Uncas Norvell Clary of the town of Prosper. 
   A veteran of World War I as well as a practicing physician, Cozby served as Mayor of Grand Saline from 1919-1947. Despite his prominent status in Grand Saline, very little exists online in regards to Cozby's life, and this article would not have been possible had it not been for help of Sibyl Creasey and the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society! A few weeks ago I sent an e-mail to Sibyl inquiring about further information on Mr. Cozby, as well as about a possible portrait of him. Up until today Mr. Cozby was just another a "faceless" oddly named Texas mayor who lacked a portrait, and now, with the aid of the aforementioned folks, there will finally be a biography of this prominent Grand Saline man available online! Many, many thanks to Sibyl and the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society for their help regarding Mr. Cozby!!
    Born on September 29, 1875 in Colfax, Texas, Vaneverie Bascom Cozby was the son of Chappell Columbus (1853-1905) and Sarah Jane "Sallie" Mayne Cozby (1855-1936). Given the highly unusual first name "Vaneverie" upon his birth, Cozby would attend school in Colfax and would later be employed as a school teacher in that town. At the dawn of the Spanish-American War Cozby would sign on for service as a volunteer infantryman and following his service married in Colfax on December 23, 1900 to Linnie Geneva Kirkpatrick (1881-1963). The couple would be married for nearly fifty years and has a total of four children, listed as follows in order of birth: Harold Otis (1901-1956), Raymond Wilson (1906-1965), Ruby Cozby Kuykendall (1910-1996) and Ruth (1915-2009). It should also be noted that two of Cozby's sons (Harold and Raymond) followed in the father's stead and went on to careers in medicine. 
   Following his marriage Cozby decided upon a career in medicine and in the mid 1900s entered upon study at the Southwestern University Medical College in Texas. He would graduate in the class of 1908 and soon afterward relocated to Grand Saline to establish his medical practice.

                                                               V.B. Cozby, from the 1908 Southwester Yearbook.

   Cozby would operate his medical practice in Grand Saline until the dawn of American involvment in WWI. He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was honorably discharged  in 1919. Cozby would be affiliated with the medical corp for many years afterward, and in 1935 received the appointment as Major in the 144th Infantry Medical Corps. 
   Following his return to Texas Cozby was elected Grand Saline's Mayor, beginning a tenure that would last for 28 years. His lengthy tenure in that office is noted as bringing about "the materialization of some noteworthy civic improvements" and after serving nearly twenty years in office  "requested his name be left off the ballot" in that year's (1938) mayoral election. However, Cozby's popularity with the citizens of Grand Saline won out, as the "voters wrote it in", and after winning the election continued in his role as mayor for eight more years.
   During the twenty-fifth year of his mayoralty Cozby was honored by the citizens of Grand Saline by having a hospital dedicated in his name, The Cozby-Germany hospital, in November 1944. Formerly opened in 1946, this hospital remained the lone hospital in Van Zandt County until its closure in January 2014
   In the 1947 election the then 72 year old Cozby faced off against an opponent half his age, John Edward "J.E." Persons (1910-2000). On election day it was Persons who won out, defeating the man whom Grand Saline citizens had called Mayor for nearly thirty-years. Two years after his defeat Vaneverie Bascom Cozby died in Grand Saline on November 29, 1949. His death was attributed to "Bronchial Pneumonia (Terminal)" and he was survived by his wife Linnie and all of his children. Burial later occurred at the Woodside Cemetery located in Grand Saline. 

                Dr. V.B. Cozby (on extreme right) with members of the 1936-37 Grand Saline City Council.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dempster Nation Guinnip (1838-1931)

Dempster Nation Guinnip, from the Elmira Star Gazette, Dec. 11, 1929.

    A figure of distinction in the town of Spencer, New York, Dempster Nation Gunnip lived to the ripe old age of 92 and during his long life was active in a number of different areas in that town, serving as a member of the town Board of Education, township assessor and Overseer of the Poor. In 1896 he was elected as Village President of Spencer and would serve a one year term in that office.
   Born on December 1, 1838 in the Tompkins County, New York town of Dryden, Dempster Nation Guinnip was the son of George (1811-1891) and Laura Guinnip (1813-1887). Being the son of a successful cabinet maker and painter, young Dempster would study those trades under the tutelage of his father and after removing to Spencer with his family attended that village's "Old Red School House."
    In 1861 Guinnip married Mary A. Bell (184-1896) and later had one daughter, Helen. For over fifty years afterward Guinnip continued work as a house and carriage painter and maintained a fifty-plus year membership on the Evergreen Cemetery Board in Spencer. Gunnip would also occupy several important local political offices in Spencer, including that of Town Assessor, Inspector of Elections and was secretary of the Spencer Board of Education for over twenty years.
    Noted as being "one of the firmest republicans in the village", Dempster Gunnip was elected as Spencer's Village President in 1896 and served one term (1896-97). He continued to take an active role in Spencer civic affairs well into his nineties, serving as Town Overseer of the Poor and in February 1929 was elected as Secretary of the Evergreen Cemetery, having celebrated his 90th birthday the previous December. Widowed in 1896, Dempster Gunnip died at age 92 on March 20, 1931 and was interred alongside his wife at the Evergreen Cemetery.

From the Elmira Star Gazette, December 18, 1928.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Marthinus Fredrickson Hegge (1856-1924)

From the July 29, 1904 Minneapolis Journal.

   Joining a shortlist that includes Gullick Nelson Risjord, Jetlee Bryngelson Nordhem and Dregman Olsen Aker, Norwegian native Marthinus Fredrickson Hegge removed to Hatton, North Dakota in his early twenties and in the succeeding years built up a reputation as one of that area's foremost bankers and merchants. In 1889 he etched his name into the history books when (as a delegate to the North Dakota constitutional convention) became a signer of that state's constitution. Hegge would go on to further prominence in 1904 when he became the Democratic nominee for North Dakota Governor. 
  One of eleven children born to Frederick and Ingeborg Hegge, Marthinus F. Hegge's birth occurred on November 27, 1856 in Norway. He is recorded as having attended the "national schools in his native land" and also engaged in farm work prior to his removal to the United States. In June 1876 he and two of his sisters left Norway and after arriving in the United States settled in Wisconsin. Marthinus would remain here for six years and during this time would attend a business school/college at La Crosse
   In 1882 Marthinus married at Chaseburg, Wisconsin to Karen "Carrie" Nelson (1856-1923), with whom he had six children: Clara Josephine (1883-1960), Fredrik (1884-1906), Erick M. (1886-1945), Anna Oline (1889-1974), Marie Constance (1894-1980) and Adolph (1898-1939). Following his marriage he and his wife removed to Traill County, North Dakota, settling in the town of Hatton. He would enter into the general merchandise business in that town, being located in "a large two story brick structure, one of the most pretentious business blocks in that section of the state." 
  Hegge continued to run his business in Hatton for decades afterward and was active in other business and financial affairs in the town, serving as President of the First National Bank of Hatton and was a stockholder and past president of the Red River Valley Telephone Company. In 1889 he was elected as Democrat to the North Dakota Constitutional Convention, being held at Bismarck. The statehood of North Dakota (having been authorized in February 1889 by the Enabling Act) provided for a constitutional convention to be held, with the opening occurring on July 4th of that year. During his time in Bismarck Hegge served as a member of the committees on Accounts and Expenses, Elective Franchise and Schedule and Revenue and Taxation. He would also introduce File No. 93 at the convention, proposing that:
"In case prohibition of  the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor is not adopted and incorporated into the constitution, then the legislature shall provide a system of licensing the manufacture and sale of such liquors, fixing the license fee or fees for such liquor at a minimum of not less than one thousand dollars per annum." 
Marthinus Hegge, from the 1889 North Dakota Constitutional Convention composite.

   At the conclusion of his service at the convention Hegge returned to his earlier business pursuits in Hatton. In 1904 politics would again beckon to him, and on July 29th of that year he received the Democratic nomination for Governor of North Dakota. Running in a state that was then "overwhelmingly Republican", Hegge faced an uphill battle that election year, with the Bismarck Daily Tribune noting that Hegge:
"Is a Scandinavian, and from that nationality in Traill County it is figured will receive a large vote. While the Democrats have little hope of carrying on a successful campaign for any of the state offices, more enthusiasm has been shown in the ranks than for many years." 
   Opposing Hegge for the Governorship that year was another oddly named man, former Hillsboro, North Dakota mayor Elmore Yocum Sarles (1859-1929). On election day 1904 it was Sarles who triumphed, besting Hegge in what can only be described as a landslide, 47,828 votes to 16, 744. Despite being trounced in the election, Hegge made three further unsuccessful campaigns for public office, being the Democratic nominee for State Treasurer in 1906 , 1914 and 1918.
   In addition to his business pursuits and political doings Marthinus Hegge took an active role in the Sons of Norway fraternal organization, being a member of the Ulabrand Lodge #89 in Hatton. He would serve as a vice-president of the Sons of Norway from 1916-18 and in 1923 sufferred the loss of his wife of 42 years, Karen. Hegge himself died a year later on October 24, 1924 at age 68, and following his passing was interred alongside his wife at the St. John's Cemetery in Hatton, North Dakota.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ordner Thorwald Bundlie Jr. (1919-2009)

From the Hendricks Pioneer, August 23, 1962.

    Pipestone County, Minnesota native Ordner Thorwald Bundlie Jr. was for many years a prominent figure in the Democratic-Farmer Labor Party in Minnesota, serving as chairman of the aforementioned county's Democratic Farmer Labor Committee beginning in 1961. In addition to serving as chairman Bundlie was a former Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota and in 1962 was an unsuccessful candidacy for the Minnesota State Senate. Like past profilees Treffle G. LeClaire and Trible Dix Sutton, Mr. Bundlie's humorous name was located via the 1967-68 Who's Who In American Politics, and as you will soon read, his inclusion in said book was most appropriate!
    The story of this lifelong Minnesota resident begins with his birth in Duluth on October 24, 1919, being the son of Ordner Thorwald Bundlie Sr. and Olive England Bundlie. Young Ordner would attend school in Eveleth, Minnesota and enrolled at the University of Minnesota in the early 1940s. He would put his studies on hold in 1942 to serve overseas in WWII, serving as a Technician Fourth Grade in the U.S. Army. He would remain in service until 1946, and after returning home married in November of that year to Shirley Ann Heikkinen (1924-1978). The couple would later have five children: Todd (died in infancy), Scott, Barbara, Andrew and Nancy.
   Following his marriage Ordner Bundlie Jr. resumed study at the University of Minnesota Law School and graduated in the class of 1948. Shortly afterward he became a member of the law firm of Bundlie and Bundlie with his father, specializing in "Appellate, Banking, Corporate, Federal, Insurance, Real Property, Wills and Administrative Law." Through the 1950s and early 60s Bundlie's profile continued to rise in Pipestone County, as he was affiliated with several civic groups, including the local Kiwanis Club, the YMCA (of which he served as Secretary and Treasurer), the Red Cross, and was a past president of the 13th Judicial District's Bar Association.

                                                           Ordner T. Bundlie, from the 1941 Gopher Yearbook.

   In 1956 Order Bundlie entered into the post of Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota, being sworn into office in July of that year by state Attorney General Miles Lord. Bundlie would serve in that capacity for four years, and in 1961 began service as Chairman of the Pipestone County Democratic Farmer-Labor Committee. In addition to his serving as chairman Bundlie also served as a delegate to that party's state conventions of 1962, 1964 and 1966.
   After leaving the position of Assistant Attorney General in 1960 Bundlie returned to practicing law. In 1962 he announced his candidacy for a seat in the Minnesota State Senate from the 20th district (comprising the counties of Pipestone, Lyons and Lincoln). Throughout the latter part of 1962 Bundlie stumped throughout that district, and on August 16th of that year spoke at a meeting in Ivanhoe, Minnesota. During this meeting he cautioned voters to choose carefully when electing a state senator, noting that:
"When the voters of this district elect a man to serve in the senate, he is supposed to represent--in the fullest and truest sense--the hopes and wishes of the majority of the people in the district. But there are some legislators who at time become so thoroughly convinced by lobbyists of special interest groups that they actually vote against the best interests of their home districts. The people of our district deserve more than wishy-washy negative representation"
   In the remaining months of the campaign season Bundlie continued to court voters, and was featured in a large campaign notice in the Lake Benton Tribune on October 25th of that year. That notice (shown below) details a portion of his campaign platform, including the "overhauling" of Minnesota's tax structure and the advocation of a state college within close proximity to the 20th district. On election day 1962 it was Bundlie's opponent, non-partisan candidate Joseph A. Josefson (1915-2007) who emerged victorious, besting him by a vote of 10, 540 to 5, 498.

A Bundlie campaign advertisement from the Lake Benton News, Oct. 25, 1962

   Despite his senate loss Ordner Bundlie continued to be a prominent figure in Pipestone county public life for many years afterward. He would serve as a public defender for Pipestone County and in 1970 was selected by then Governor Harold LeVander to serve as a special municipal judge for the city of Pipestone. In 1976 Bundlie succeeded Jim Manion as County Judge of Pipestone County and served on the bench until 1978. He was defeated for reelection that year by David E. Christensen, but would subsequently appeal the election results. A court ruling later decided in favor of Christensen, who would serve on the bench until his retirement in February 2012.
   Late in his life Bundlie served as a state law judge, retiring from that office in 1993. Widowed in 1978, he would remarry in 1981 to Donna Gerken, who died in 2006 at age 70. After many years of public service Order Bundlie died on February 14, 2009, several months short of his 90th birthday. He had been a resident of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and was survived by four of his children, with his burial taking place at the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Haswell Cordis Clark (1842-1901)

Portrait from the Memorials of Deceased Companions of the Commandary of Illinois, 1901.

   Sporting a fashionable long whiskered mustache (quite popular in the 19th century), Massachusetts native Haswell Cordis Clarke would find distinction in Kankakee, Illinois, where he relocated in the mid 1860s. A Civil War veteran who attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Clarke went on to further prominence in Kankakee civic affairs, serving as a bank cashier, city alderman and member of the board of education. In the final years of his life Clarke served Kankakee as its Mayor, holding that office until his death in January 1901.
   Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Haswell Cordis Clark was born on September 28, 1842. The son of John Jones Clark (1803-1887), a former Massachusetts state senator, representative and Mayor of Roxbury, Haswell C. Clarke's early education took place in the city of his birth, attending the Roxbury Latin School. He would enroll at Harvard University in 1859 but left his studies behind in 1861 to accept a commission as a Captain and aide-de-camp, to Major General Benjamin F. Butler of Massachusetts.
   A year after his commission Clarke was brevetted to Major due to "gallant conduct" at the Battles of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in April 1862. Following his promotion he continued service with Gen. Butler in New Orleans and was mustered out of service in 1865 having been brevetted as Lieutenant Colonel in March of that year. Soon after his leaving the military Clarke removed from Massachusetts to Kankakee, Illinois to being involvement with a local flax mill in which his father had purchased an interest. For a short time he would serve as superintendent of the mill but due to its lack of success it was later closed. Clarke married in 1869 to Harriett Amelia Cobb (to whom he was wed for over thirty years) and three years later was awarded his diploma from Harvard.
   Several years following the closure of the flax mill Haswell C. Clarke joined the National Bank of Kankakee as a stockholder and would later be made its cashier, serving in the latter capacity for over twenty-five years.  In addition to banking Clarke served in several other capacities within Kankakee, including service on the city Board of Education and the Board of Aldermen. Clarke also maintained a lengthy affiliation with the Illinois Eastern Hospital at Kankakee, serving as the hospital's Secretary and Treasurer for over decade.
  A past Grand High Priest in the Royal Arch Masons, Haswell Clarke's activity in the Masonic order received high praise in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Kankakee County, which notes that:
"At the time of this writing (1892) he is Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. During the many years of his prominent activity in the order, Col. Clarke has made many pleasant acquaintances throughout the state and nation, where the pleasure has been reciprocated."
   Despite having never been an office seeker, Clarke was elected as the Mayor of Kankakee in 1899 for a term of two years.  He died in office on January 16, 1901 after having suffered a "long illness" and was survived by his wife Harriett. Both Haswell and his wife were interred Kankakee's Mound Grove Cemetery underneath a truly unique headstone denoting the former's status as a Colonel.

From the Encyclopedia of Biography of Illinois, Vol. III, 1902.

From the Jacksonville Daily Journal, Jan. 16, 1901.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oswin Hart Doolittle Fowler (1857-1939)

From the "Souvenir History of Wallingford, Connecticut:, 1895.

   Recorded by the "Souvenir History of Wallingford, Connecticut" as being one of the youngest practicing lawyers in that city's history, Oswin Hart Doolittle Fowler would go on to further distinction in the mid 1900s when he was elected to serve as judge of the Borough Court of Wallingford, holding that office for several years. Although his reputation was largely confined to New Haven County, Connecticut, it his service as a judge (as well as his unique name) that earns him a place here. 
    Born in North Haven, Connecticut on January 17, 1857, O.H.D. Fowler (as most sources list him) was the son of Henry Baldwin and Lucy Eloise Doolittle Fowler. A family with it's roots in Connecticut extending back to the mid 17th century, the Fowler family could count among its relations one Sir Richard Fowler de Foxley, a crusader Knight who accompanied Richard Coeur de Lion (the future Richard I of England) into battle in the Holy Lands. O.H.D. Fowler's unusual name can be traced back to his maternal uncle Oswin Hart Doolittle (1818-1851), a resident of New Haven County who represented that area in the Connecticut state legislature for three terms in the late 1840s before dying of "lung fever" at the age of 32.
   A student in the locals schools of Wallingford, O.H.D. Fowler would attend high school in New Haven and later studied  at the Hopkins Grammar School, completing his studies there in 1875. Shortly thereafter he entered Yale University and during the 1878-79  year also taught school in Wallingford. In 1879 he began to study law at the Yale Law School and graduated in the class of 1881. He was shortly thereafter admitted to the state bar of Connecticut and removed to Wallingford in September 1881 to open a law practice. Three years following his removal there he married to Carrie B. Parmelee (1860-1938) and later had three daughters, Mabel E. (birth-date unknown),  Ethel (1888-1953) and Helen (birth-date unknown).
  Over the course of the next twenty years Fowler's law practice continued to grow "steadily in  volume and importance" and he would gain a reputation as being "numbered among the ablest representatives of the bar in this section of the state." In 1888 he would purchase a palatial home in Wallingford (shown below) and through various renovations built it into one of the city's most "attractive residences".  

                              The Fowler home in Wallingford, from the "Souvenir History of Wallingford."

   Fowler experienced his first taste of political life when he served a two year term as judge of probate for the Wallingford district, holding that post from 1893-95. Several years later he would win election as Prosecuting Attorney for Wallingford's borough court and occupied that post for the remainder of the decade. During his term Fowler was a prominent booster for the establishment of a municipal electric light plant in the city and took on the task of authorizing and compiling the resolutions  necessary for its construction. 
   In April 1911 Fowler's public profile continued to rise when he was named as Judge of the Borough Court of Wallingford. He would be reappointed to the bench in 1917 and would also serve Wallingford as town counsel, counsel for the town's First National Bank, and was counsel for several businesses in Wallingford. Fowler also maintained affiliation with the St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the New Haven County Bar Association and the Wallingford Club. The Yale Obituary record of 1938-39 also notes that Fowler served in the Connecticut state legislature. Despite this brief mention, I could find no other source that records his service in that body or however long he may have served. 
   Fowler left the office of borough court judge in 1925 but continued to serve as town counsel until 1931. In 1920 he served on the celebration executive committee for Wallingford's tercentenary, and pulled double duty as chairman of the reception's committee. Widowed in February 1938, Judge Fowler died just over a year later on March 3, 1939 at age 81, his cause of death being attributed to "arteriosclerosis". He was later interred alongside his wife Carrie at the In Memoriam Cemetery in Wallingford.

O.H.D. Fowler at the 250th anniversary of the founding of Wallingford, 1920.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Verdo Wilson Elmore (1899-1969)

Verdo W. Elmore, from the April 25, 1954 Tuscaloosa News.

   The name would be Verdo Wilson, soldier, collegiate and major league baseball player, state senator, judge.....barbecue master? This oddly named man from Pickens County, Alabama is one of the most multifaceted folks you're ever going to read about and is certainly a man most deserving of an online biography. This lifelong resident of Pickens County served overseas during the First World War and in the 1920s played professional baseball with the St. Louis Browns. He would later turn his attention to law and served several months in the Alabama State Senate before being appointed as a Circuit Court Judge for Alabama's 24th district. And if  that weren't enough, Mr. Elmore gained local distinction as a true "master of the grill", garnering the moniker "the Barbecue King of Pickens County."
    Born near Gordo (located in Pickens County) on December 10, 1899, Verdo Wilson Elmore was the son of William Austin and Mary Ann Eads Elmore. A student in the Gordo public school system, Elmore enlisted for service in the First World War in February 1918 and served as a private with the 56th Coast Artillery. He would also serve with the American Expeditionary Forces and in July 1918 was transferred to the Western Front, serving in that area until the sign of the Armistice in November.
   At the conclusion of his service Elmore returned to Alabama and turned his attention to law studies in the early 1920s. He would enroll at the Univeristy of Alabama and during his time there gained a reputation as standout baseball player, accumulating a batting average of ".439 his freshman year." After graduating from the University of Alabama with his law degree in 1924 Elmore made his move into the big leagues, joining the St. Louis Browns as an outfielder. His time with the Browns would span nearly two weeks in September 1924 and following his time there returned to the minor leagues, playing with "Atlanta in the Southern Association" and dabbled in managing when he managed teams from Texarkana, Texas and Anniston, Alabama.

                                                                                 Verdo Elmore takes a swing.

  Verdo W. Elmore married in June 1927 to Winnie Lois Davis (1902-1979) and the couple would become parents to three children: Verdo Jr. (1929-2004), Margaret Anne (birth-date unknown) and William Wilson (1945-1997). Two years following his marriage Elmore suffered a broken leg which in turn caused him to "quit organized baseball." He had begun a law practice in Gordo after leaving the University of Alabama and after his injury returned to his practice. He first entered political life in February 1938 when he announced his candidacy for the Alabama State Senate's 14th district, and in November of that year won the election.
   Elmore's tenure in the senate proved to be short lived. Just 10 months after his election he was appointed by Governor Frank Dixon as Judge for the 24th judicial circuit of Alabama. He would serve on the bench until 1953 and early in his tenure on the court presided over the trial of R. Murray Pate, a former Tuscaloosa deputy sheriff who was charged in the murder of Macon Oswalt in July 1939.
  In addition to his athletic and judicial activities Verdo Elmore was an ardent hunter and a veritable "Barbecue King of Pickens County". The Tuscaloosa News reported in his mastery of the barbacue in its April  25, 1954 edition, noting that:
"As much as 250 pounds of barbecue has been served at one time and as many as 300 have attended feasts at the Elmore barbecue grounds at one time......He supervises the barbecuing for church organizations, civic clubs, fox hunting associations and other clubs."
  After many years of public service to Pickens County Verdo Wilson Elmore died at age 69 on August 5, 1969. He was survived by his wife and three children and was later buried at the Gordo City Cemetery in Gordo, Alabama. In an interesting addendum to this write-up' Elmore is the second oddly named baseball player-politician to be profiled here, the other being U.S. Representative from New York Pius Louis Schwert (1892-1941), who played with the New York Highlanders from 1914-1916.