Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Maja Leon Berry (1877-1961)

From the December 30, 1937 Danville Bee.

    New Jersey attorney and jurist Maja Leon Berry occupied a prominent place in Garden State public life, being an attorney based in the city of Camden for many years. A past judge of the Ocean County Court of Common Pleas, Berry would be appointed as Vice Chancellor of the Chancery Division of the Supreme Court of New Jersey in 1925, subsequently serving on the bench for over two decades. 
   The son of Samuel and Sarah Louisa Willetts Berry, Maja Leon Berry was born in West Creek Township, New Jersey on January 2, 1877. A student in the Ocean County public school system, Berry spent his adolescence as a teacher in Ocean County and in the late 1890s began persuing the study of law, enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania's Law School. He graduated from that institution in the class of 1902 and shortly thereafter was admitted to the New Jersey bar. He established his first law practice in Camden and in 1905 formed a partnership with another attorney, John Adelbert Riggins, their firm continuing until it became defunct in 1922. 
   Maja L. Berry married in October 1900 to Edna Steelman (1876-1961), a native of Tuckerton, New Jersey. Married for over sixty years, Berry and his wife are believed to have been childless through the entirety of their marriage.
   In 1907 New Jersey Governor Edward Stokes appointed Maja Berry as judge of the Ocean County Court of Common Pleas. Just thirty years old at the time of his appointment, Berry served on the bench until 1912, when he resigned to accept the post of counsel for Ocean County. He continued in this role until May 1925, when he received the appointment of Vice Chancellor of the Chancery Division of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He was reappointed to the bench in 1932 and 1939, and in December 1937 made headlines in several newspapers when he ruled against picketing workers at the Canter's Sample Furniture Store in Newark. In his verdict, Berry prohibited the strike, noting that: 
"For its primary object the enforcement of the closed shop upon an employer and the creation of a monopoly in the employment of a particular trade in a given locality."
   Berry left the office of Vice Chancellor in the late 1940s and afterwards returned to the practice of law. He joined the law firm of Berry, Whitson and Berry (founded by his nephew Franklin) in 1948 and continued to be affiliated with it until his death thirteen years later. Active in a number of non-judicial areas in Ocean County, Maja Berry was a past director of the Beach Haven National Bank and Trust Company and was a longstanding parishioner at the Toms River Presbyterian Church, being a member of the board of trustees as well as a teaching a men's bible studies class. Berry is also noted as belonging to several fraternal groups, including the Masons, Knights Templar and the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
   On July 3, 1961 Maja Berry's wife of 60 years, Edna, died at age 84. He survived her by nearly two months, passing away (also aged 84) on August 30th. Both he and his wife were subsequently interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Toms River, New Jersey. 

                                             Maja Leon Berry in 1930,  from "Along the Toms River", published 1996.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Main Julius Connine (1854-1915)

Portrait from the "Men of Progress" 1900.

   Oddly named Michigan jurist Main Julius Connine logged fifteen years of service as circuit court judge for Michigan's 23rd district, being elevated to the bench in January 1900. A lifelong native of the Bay State, Connine was born in the town of Pokagon on July 7, 1854, being the son of Richard N. and Mary Holmes Connine. Main engaged in work upon the family farm during his youth and also earned income by teaching the third grade in Grand Traverse County. This income enabled him to become a student at the Dowagaie High School, and later the Valparaiso Normal School, from which he would graduate in the mid 1870s. 
   Connine earned his B.S. degree from the above mentioned school and after a period spent as a school principal in Mt. Vernon, Indiana enrolled at the University of Michigan Law School. He remained here for one term and would leave his studies to take on the position of principal at the public schools in Douglass and Champion, Michigan. He had married in 1877 in Crawfordsville, Indiana to Ella Burroughs (1854-1912) and was the father to two sons, Ward Burroughs (born 1878) and Matthew Nelson (1882-1925).
  While serving as principal Connine studied law during his spare time, entering the law off of Allegan County Judge Phillip Padgham to further his knowledge. In the mid 1880s Connine was admitted to the Michigan bar and established his first law practice in the city of Grayling, located in Crawford County. He would ply his trade here for several years, and in 1884 became commissioner of the Crawford County circuit court. He would hold that position for one year and in the following year entered upon the office of prosecuting attorney for Crawford County, serving here until 1887.
  In 1888 Connine relocated his practice to the township of Oscoda in the neighboring county of Iosco. In 1890 he was elected to his first term as Iosco County's prosecuting attorney, and continued to serve here in 1892, 1893 and 1894. In November 1900 Connine was elected as Circuit Court Judge for Michigan's 23rd district. He would continue to preside as judge until his death and in 1911 suffered a personal loss when his home in Oscoda was destroyed by fire. Connine later relocated to Tawas City to build a new home when he was dealt further tragedy with the death of his wife Ella. 
   Following Ella Connine's death in July 1912 Main Connine resided at the Isoco Hotel in Tawas City. He died in his sleep in his apartment there on March 15, 1915 at age 59. He was survived by both his sons and was later interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in Tawas City.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ortho Olden Wolf (1874-1944)

Ortho O. Wolf, from the Kansas City Star

   We continue our stay in Kansas today to profile four-term state senator Ortho Olden Wolf, who, in addition to his service in state government, was a prominent agriculturalist, veterinarian and farm organization leader, serving as the president of the Kansas Farm Bureau for a number of years. Although a resident of Kansas for over six decades, Ortho O. Wolf's birth took place in Allen County, Ohio on June 4, 1874. The son of Charles and Mary Abbott Wolf, Ortho removed to Kansas with his family in 1884 and his early education took place in Franklin County. As an adolescent he attended both Baker University and the Kansas Agricultural College and in 1898 graduated from the Chicago Veterinary College.
   After a time spent traveling Great Britain and Scotland to study methods of stock raising Wolf returned to Kansas and over the succeeding years established a reputation as a veterinary surgeon and cattle breeder of "sound judgement and practical experience", making a specialty on short-horn and Jersey cattle breeds. Wolf married on November 11, 1904 to Daisy Sterling (1965) and later had one daughter, a Mrs. Charles E. Funk of Berkley, California. Wolf's status as one of Ottawa, Kansas prominent farmers received extensive mention in the June 23, 1931 Daily Huronite, which noted that:
"In the vicinity of Ottawa he owns three tracts of land, 243 acres, 160 acres and 219 in extent, all of which are farmed under his personal supervision."
    As the owner of over 600 acres of farmland, Ortho Wolf's name was one of the most recognizable in agricultural organizations of the time. A member of the Kansas Board of Agriculture for over two decades, Wolf also held the presidencies of the Kansas State Agricultural Council, the Kansas State Farm Bureau and the Farmer's Cooperative Elevator Association of Ottawa, and was a member of the Kansas State Board of Veterinary Examiners,  the Producer's Commission Association, the National Wool-Grower's Association, the Mid-West Wool Marketing Association.
   Active in other aspects of Kansas public life, Wolf served as an executive committee member for the Franklin County Fire Insurance Association  and for many years was affiliated with the Kansas State Fair Association, serving in 1911 as the superintendent of its "cattle division." 
   O.O. Wolf first entered Kansas political life in 1912 when he won election to the Kansas State Senate from Franklin County. Reelected in 1914, Wolf would serve on the committees on Cities of the Second Class, Commerce, Enrolled Bills, Labor, Live Stock, Municipal Corporations, Military Affairs, Ways and Means and chaired the committee on Drainage. Wolf would be returned to the senate in the elections of 1920 and 1923, serving a total of eight years in all.

Ortho Wolf (third from left) at a Washington,  D.C. agricultural meeting, February 1937.

  During his third term in the senate in 1921 Wolf was selected as a member of the "Livestock Marketing Committee of Fifteen" a group of noted agriculturalists gathered under the auspice of the American Farm Bureau Federation to "give special study and consideration to livestock marketing problems" as well as to "submit recommendations". Wolf would become a founding board member of the National Live Stock Producers Association in 1921-22 and was chairman of the board in 1929. Three years later he became President of the Board of Managers of the Kansas State Fair and continued to serve in the capacity into the following year.
   On several occasions Wolf was sought out to attend agricultural conferences in Washington, D.C., one of these being a meeting with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Henry A. Wallace in 1937 (portrait shown above.) In Janaury 1939 Wolf again visited Washington as one of two dozen delegates from the American Farm Bureau, meeting with President Roosevelt to discuss its legislative program, as well as labor and wage rates. Wolf maintained a busy schedule in various agricultural organizations until his death, which occurred at a Wamego, Kansas hospital on April 7, 1944. His wife and daughter survived him, with his burial taking place at the Highland Cemetery in Ottawa, Kansas.
Ortho O. Wolf in 1939 at an American Farm Bureau conference in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

DeLanson Alson Newton Chase (1875-1953)

From the 1919 Kansas Legislative composite.

  Oddly named Vermont native DeLanson Alson Newton Chase would go on to find success in both business and politics in Kansas during the early part of the 20th century. A member of the both houses of the Kansas legislature, Chase achieved his highest degree of public prominence in January 1925 when he entered upon the office of Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, serving in this capacity for four years.
    A native of Jay, Vermont, DeLanson A. N. Chase was born in that Orleans County town on April 26, 1875, the son of Arthur and Melissa Burdick Chase.  Mentioned as being a descendant of Ohio Governor and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, Delanson and his family relocated from Vermont to Atlantic, Iowa when he was still a child. They would reside here for about nine years, later removing to the small town of Leoti in Wichita County, Kansas in 1887. Here DeLanson would attend the public school system until the age of fourteen, whereafter he was apprenticed to be a harness maker in Leoti. 
   Chase made his first venture into business life in 1891, when (upon receiving a loan of $400 from his father) he established a "flour and feed store" in Leoti. He continued to run this business for about a year, later selling it off and using that capital to put himself through college. Enrolling at the Central Business College at Leavenworth, Chase graduated from that school in the class of 1893 and in that same year married Harriett Annette Ayer, a high-school student in Leavenworth. notes that Chase (aged 18) and Ayer (aged 16) married "one hour before her graduation from the Leavenworth High School" and that Ayer had the distinction of being the "first and only married woman ever graduated from that institution." The youthful couple would later become the parents to two children, Donna Augusta (born 1900) and DeWayne Alson Newton (1902-1985).
  The late 1890s saw Chase return to the flour and feed business for a time and later relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked as a government tagger and live stock inspector. During this time he studied law at a night school in Omaha and in 1901 was admitted to the bar. He would practice law in Omaha for one year and in 1903 reestablished his business roots, organizing Chase & Co., a "wholesale manufacturing extract,  spice, tea and coffee house." Chase served as the president and general manager of this company until its sale in 1907, and in the following year took work with the National Spice Company as its "western representative."
   In 1909 DeLanson Chase returned to Kansas, settling in the city of Pleasanton in Linn County. He would soon become affiliated with several businesses concerns, including the Monument and Ice Company of Pleasanton and the Burke Printing Company in Fredonia. Chase himself would establish both the D.A.N. Chase Ford Motor Co. and the D.A.N. Chase Dry-Goods Company and also held the presidency of Pleasanton's First National Bank.

From the Kansas City Star, 1928.

    D.A.N. Chase first entered political life in Kansas in the mid 1900s when he began service as treasurer of Pleasanton, Kansas school district. In November 1916 he was elected as Linn County's representative to the Kansas General Assembly and held seats on the committees on State Affairs, Printing and Rules during the 1917-1919 legislative session. He would win reelection to the house in November 1918 and during the 1919-21 session served as Speaker pro tem of the house. 
   In November 1920 Chase won election to the Kansas State Senate and after two terms here received the nomination for Kansas Lieutenant Governor in 1924. In November of that year he and Republican gubernatorial candidate Benjamin S. Paulson were elected, officially taking office in January 1925. During his final year as Lieutenant Governor Chase launched his own campaign for the Kansas Governorship, and throughout 1928 stumped throughout the state. Recorded as visiting "nearly 500 Kansas towns" during the course of his campaign, Chase was one of three Republican gubernatorial candidates in that year's primary, the others being Clyde Martin Reed (1871-1949) and former House Speaker John Daniel Miller Hamilton (ca. 1892-1973). As the Alma Enterprise reported in its January 2, 1928 edition, both Chase and Reed's lengthy names left the newspaper editors scratching their heads, noting that:
"We can never get much excited about a candidate who requires three front handles to identify him. Perhaps they are not to blame because their parents so labeled them, but why didn't they drop one or two of those initials before they got into politics."

                                                                      From the Alma Enterprise, June 29, 1928.

   On the election election day primary 1928 it was the short named candidate (Clyde M. Reed) who claimed victory as the Republican nominee for Governor. He would go on to win the governorship that November and after leaving that office was elected as U.S. Senator from Kansas in 1939, serving until his death a decade later. Despite losing the primary Chase would serve out the remainder of his term as Lieutenant Governor, which concluded in January 1929. 
  Little else is known of Chase's life after he left office. For many years prior had been a distinguished Mason in Linn County, being both a past grand master of the Pleasanton and member of the Fort Scott Consistory of Scottish Rite Masons. He remarried at some point prior to his death to a Ms. Emma Dutt, who survived him upon his death in Ottawa, Kansas on October 19, 1953. A burial location for both Chase and his wife is unknown at this time.
From the 1925 Kansas State Senate composite portrait.

From the Iola Register, October 20, 1953.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Iman Clair Wiatt (1901-1967)

From the 1958 Kansas Government Journal.

   The "Sunflower State" of Kansas yields another odd named public official in one Iman Clair Wiatt of Kearny County, and, like fellow Kansan Wentzle A. Stewart, obscurity again wins out. Despite being a prominent resident of Lakin, Kansas (not to mention being a four-term state representative), there are but three tiny biographical blurbs mentioning Mr. Wiatt anywhere online! The closest thing that comes to a biography is a death notice for him that was originally published in the Hutchinson News on the day following his death in 1967. The following lines on Mr. Wiatt have been piece-mealed together from any and all sources available.
   Iman Clair Wiatt was born in Bethany, Harrison County, Missouri on July 21, 1901, a son of Edward and Laura Myrtle Edson Wiatt. Bestowed the unusual names "Iman Clair" upon his birth, Wiatt removed with his family to Kearny County, Kansas in 1907 and married on his 22nd birthday in 1923 to Arla Agnus Stinchcomb (1901-1983). The couple would later have two children, Joan Wiatt Shaw (1924-2014) and Edward Ellsworth (born ca. 1933). Prior to serving in the legislature Wiatt was a farmer and "broom corn grower" in Lakin, Kansas and was also an organizer of the Kearny County Farm Bureau. A member of the Lakin Methodist Church, Wiatt was also affiliated with several civic and business organizations in Lakin, including that of Treasurer of the Southwest Kansas Royalty Association and President of the Lakin Rotary Club.
   A genealogical webpage describing Wiatt and his family notes that during the Second World War he was in charge of "scrap iron, machinery rationing, savings bonds and emergency production loan committees". Wiatt would later serve as director of the Kearny County Bank, and continued to serve in this capacity during his time in the legislature. Wiatt also held the post of Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Kearny, County, Kansas during the mid 1950s.
   Iman C. Wiatt won his first term in the Kansas House of Representatives in November 1956 and would be reelected as Kearny County's representative in 1958, 1960 and 1962. He would be unopposed for reelection in 1960 and during the previous year's session served as chairman of the house committee on irrigation. His final term in the state house concluded in January 1965 and he died two years later on June 22, 1967, one month short of 66th birthday. Wiatt's death notice in the June 23, 1967 Hutchinson News notes that he had passed away at his home in Lakin after having been ill for six months. He was survived by his wife and two children and was interred at the Lakin Cemetery.

From the Hutchinson News, June 23, 1967.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wentzle Aena Stewart (1897-1983)

From the 1951 Kansas State Legislative composite portrait.

   A two-term member of the Kansas State House of Representatives from the county of Kiowa, Wentzle Aena Stewart has scant information available online, and although few details could be found regarding him, the picture shown above (located via a 1951 Kansas legislative composite portrait) comes as a welcome surprise. Although a Kansan for nearly all his life, Wentzle A. Stewart wasn't born in the state; his birth instead occurring in Iowa on December 31, 1897. The son of Henry E. (1868-1951) and Ida Stephens Stewart (1870-1958), Stewart removed with his family to Kansas shortly after his birth and in 1901 the family settled in Kiowa County.
    A veteran of the United States Navy, Stewart married in April 1924 to Ms. Elsie Jane Miller (1904-1994), with whom he would have three sons: Wesley Earl (birth-date unknown), Harold Alvin (died 1992) and Keith Allen (birth-date unknown). A farmer in Kiowa County for a good majority of his life, both Wentzle and his wife are noted as having been "very involved in organizing Kiowa County farming programs for men and women" and he himself was a past president of the Kiowa County Farm Bureau
   Prior to his service in state government Stewart had extensive involvement in civic affairs in Greensburg, serving as school treasurer for 22 years and as clerk for two. Stewart also held the posts of town clerk and trustee for eight and four years, respectively. In November 1948 he was elected as Kiowa County's representative to the Kansas General Assembly, garnering 1, 519 votes on election day. Stewart was returned to the legislature in November 1950 and served until the close of the session in 1953. Little else is known of Stewart's life following the conclusion of his term. He died at age 85 on January 3, 1983 and was later interred at Greensburg's Fairview Cemetery.

                                           Wentzle A. Stewart, from the 1950 Kansas Government Journal.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quintillion Kepler Groves (1855-1909)

From the 1897 Indiana State House of Representatives composite portrait.

   After a few days of highlighting the lives of several oddly named Indiana political figures we conclude our stay in the Hoosier state with one Quintillion Kepler Groves, who is in possession of one of the most unusual names I've stumbled across in quite some time! A prominent citizen of Perry County, Indiana, Groves was for many decades a farmer and merchant based in the town of Tobinsport and was also active in Republican circles within Perry County. He would serve as the doorkeeper of the Indiana State House of Representatives during the 1897-98 term and in the latter year came within a few hundred votes of being elected to the Indiana State Senate.
   The youngest son of eleven children born to Samuel and Eliza Huckaby Groves, Quintillian Kepler Groves was born in Perry County on April 4, 1855. The exact origins behind the names "Quintillion Kepler" are presumed to be connected to two historical figures, Quintilian (an ancient Roman writer) and Johannes Kepler (the famed German academic, astronomer and mathematician). Despite is peculiarity, Mr. Groves' unusual first name is also one of the most varied in spelling that I've yet seen, with several variations of it floating around online. These numerous variations (which include Quintilian, Quintillian, Quintillion and Quintilleon) are even further compounded by Groves' gravestone, which records it as "Quintillious". With all of these spelling differences it was a great relief to me to have found Groves' marriage certificate from 1874, and this certificate (which was presumably filled out by both Groves and his wife Nancy) records the spelling as "Quintillion", and it is that spelling that I've decided to go with in his write-up here. That certificate is shown below (click to enlarge.)

   Groves' early life in Perry County saw him receive his "academic education" in Rome, Indiana and during his adolescence worked at both farming and teaching. He married on Christmas Eve 1874 to Nancy Tobin (1856-1940), daughter of former Indiana state representative Robert Tobin (1815-1898) of Perry County. The couple would later become parents to four children:  Robert Tobin (1876-1914), Mary Jane (1878-1921), Samuel (1881-1906) and Thomas Joshua (1883-1971). 
   Following his marriage Groves farmed in an area known as "Polk's Bottom" near Tobin Township. He would later operate a mercantile firm-general store in Tobinsport and also served as a notary public and justice of the peace beginning in the late 1880s. In December 1893 he took part in the Perry County Farmer's Institute being held at Rome, Indiana and is recorded as giving an address on "Economy on Making Hay"in the Breckenridge News.
   Long active in Perry County Republican circles, Groves was tapped to serve as the Doorkeeper of the Indiana State House of Representatives in 1897 and held this post through the 1897-98 term, even being presented with a "gold headed cane mounted on black ivory wood"; a gift from the assistant doorkeepers of the house. In 1898  "Till" Groves received the Republican nomination for Indiana state senator from the counties of Perry, Crawford and Spencer. Squaring off against Democratic nominee Oscar C. Minor, Groves narrowly lost the election in November 1898, being defeated by Minor by just 274 votes (6, 246 to 5, 972).

A notice of Groves' senate nomination from the Breckenridge News, June 1, 1898.

   Following his senatorial loss Groves continued to reside and farm in Tobinsport. A longstanding member of the local Masonic chapter in Perry County, Groves suffered personal tragedy in 1906 with the death of his son Robert, who succumbed to typhoid fever at age 24 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  Groves continued to be socially active in Perry County affairs until suffering a stroke and for a period of two years "was unable to get about conveniently." The affects of the stroke later were compounded by the onset of bronchial pneumonia, which claimed Groves' life on April 19, 1909. Just 54 years old at the time of his passing, "Q.K." Groves was survived by three of his children as well as his wife Nancy, who died in 1940 at age 86. All of the Groves family (including both of Q.K's parents) were interred at the Lamb Cemetery in Tobinsport following their deaths.

From the Cannelton Enquirer, April 24, 1909.