Thursday, November 26, 2015

Merida Ambros Hobbs (1888-1967)

Portrait courtesy of the Texas Legislative Reference Library.

   We continue our theme of oddly named Texas legislators with Lavaca County resident Merida Ambros "M.A." Hobbs, and I can't help but point out that a first name like Merida is just a tad too close in spelling to the word Mierdathe Spanish word for......excrement. While his first name is certainly unusual, Hobbs appears to have preferred going by his initials, as most period sources mentioning him list him under the name "M.A. Hobbs".
  One of nine children born to Merida Hubbard and Ellen Adelia Hobbs, Merida Ambros Hobbs was born in Texas on November 21, 1888. He inherited his unusual first name from his father and married in May 1909 to Pearl Harbour (1890-1969). The couple were married for over fifty years and had two children, Leila Mae (1910-1998) and Winford Ambros (1926-1997). 
    A rancher for a good majority of his life, Hobbs is recorded as being the owner of 900 acres of land in Ezell, Salem County, Texas. He was a member of the Lavaca County school board for a period of ten years and in November 1940 was elected to the first of two terms in the Texas State House of Representatives. During the 1941-43 session Hobbs held seats on the committees on Agriculture, Federal Relations, Livestock and Stock Raising and the State Eleemosynary and Reformatory Institutions. Reelected in November 1942, Hobbs served as vice-chairman of the house committee on Livestock and Stock Raising during the 1943-45 session, and also was named to the committee on Congressional and Legislative Districts. 
   Information has proven to be quite scant when it comes to Hobbs' life after leaving the Texas legislature. Notice has been found of his death at age 78 on May 9, 1967 at a hospital in Hallettsville, Texas. His obituary in the Shiner Gazette records him as being a "retired rancher" and notes that he had been in "ill health for many years." Hobbs was survived by his wife Pearl, who, following her death in 1969, was interred alongside her husband at the Salem Cemetery in Ezell, Texas.
                                                                           Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Almoth Dowden Rogers (1866-1931)

Portrait from the Pioneer History of Wise County, 1907.

    From Limestone County, Texas and Angero Gray Camp we journey North to Wise highlight the life of another oddly named Texas legislator, Wise County native Almoth Dowden Rogers. Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi on March 12, 1866, Almoth Dowden Rogers lost both his mother and father by the time he was six years old. In spite of his being left parentless at such a young age, Rogers persevered, and during his youth worked the farm and attended school at both the "country institutions" and Lebanon, Tennessee.
   As a young man Rogers worked at various clerkships in Kentucky and was also employed as a traveling salesman for a time. In October 1889 he married in Mississippi to Lila Stone, with whom he had seven children: Christine, Eloise, Shelton, Mary, Corinne, Jess and Almoth Dowden Jr. (1905-1979). The Rogers family would reside in Jackson, Mississippi for several years before removing to San Antonio, Texas in 1894, where Almoth began work as an insurance agent. His time as an  insurance agent saw him remove to both Ft. Worth and Decatur, Texas, finally settling in the latter town in January 1896.
   Following his resettlement in Decatur, Rogers "followed clerking and merchandising" for a time and in 1898 entered local politics when he successfully ran for Wise County Treasurer. He remained in that post for four years and continued his political ascent in 1910 when he was elected as Wise County's representative to the Texas General Assembly. Taking his seat at the start of the 1911-13 session, Rogers would serve on the house committees on Agriculture, Education, Insurance, Judicial districts and Representative districts. During his term Rogers was named as part of the Texas delegation to the Democratic National Convention of 1912 that nominated Woodrow Wilson for the Presidency.
   Reelected in November 1912, Rogers was named to several new legislative committees, including Banks and Banking, Commerce and Manufactures, Internal Improvements and State Asylums. His service as a state representative was profiled in the September 1913 edition of the Texas Railway Journal, which relates that Rogers made:
"An enviable record as a real progressive, a man who has always stood for the material good of the whole people and a man whose vote was not the only power exercised, but strong and convincing argument has been heard on many of the most important questions considered by the Texas legislature, by Mr. Rogers, and no man has been more successful in his legislative career than he. Mr. Rogers has ever stood for the right, no matter what class of people supported or opposed his position."
Almoth D. Rogers, from the Texas Railway Journal, September 1913.

  Almoth D. Rogers' second term concluded in January 1915. He would reemerge on the political scene in 1926 when he announced his candidacy for U.S. Representative from Texas' 14th district. Facing off against Republican nominee Harry M. Wurzbach (1874-1931), Rogers placed second in the vote count on election day, losing to Wurzbach by a vote of 10, 633 to 14, 224. Little is known of Rogers life following his defeat for Congress, excepting notice of his death in San Antonio on December 5, 1931. A burial location for both Rogers and his wife remains unknown at this time.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Angero Gray Camp (1827-1888)

Portrait from "Personnel of the Texas State Government", 1887.

   I can always count on Texas to offer up more odd named political figures, which is precisely the case with today's write-up on Limestone County, Texas resident Angero Gray "A.G." Camp. A physician and three term member of the Texas State House of Representatives, A.G. Camp was a native of Kentucky, being born at Valley Station in Jefferson County on April 4, 1827. A son of Thomas Pollard and Susan Magruder Camp, "A.G." Camp (as sources often list him) received his education in Louisville and would later attend the University of Kentucky, earning his medical degree in 1856.
   In the late 1850s Camp served as resident physician at the Louisville Marine Hospital but left after a short period. He relocated to Saint Joseph, Missouri where he continued his medical practice and during the Civil War returned to Kentucky, where he "organized a company of boys" to help protect trains carrying "contraband of war" on their way to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Camp would later become a surgeon under General Joseph E. Johnston, being transferred to the Market Street Hospital at Nashville. Camp would later be stationed in both Mississippi and Georgia, eventually being named to a board of medical examiners at Ringgold, Georgia. Here he would remain until the war's conclusion, and in July 1865 married to Juliet Tims Jayne (1837-1900), with whom he would have two daughters, Lula Belle (1874-1963) and Margaret (1876-1933). 

Dr. A.G. Camp, portrait courtesy of Find-A- Grave.

   Following his marriage A.G. Camp returned to St. Joseph, Missouri. He remained here until 1870, whereafter he and his family removed to Groesbeck, Texas, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. After establishing his roots in Groesbeck, Camp established a medical practice as well as a drug store, and soon became a popular member of the community.
   In 1882 the citizens of Limestone County elected A.G. Camp as their representative to the Texas General Assembly. He would be returned to that office twice more, and during his service gained the reputation as a highly effective law-maker, with the Personnel of the Texas State Government noting:
"His characteristic is watchfulness. No job escapes his vigilant eye, and no measure against the interests of the people can pass the legislature after a scathing rebuke administered by the member from Limestone County. No man in the house is as much feared by jobbers and lobbyists as Dr. Camp. Always in his place and always informed about every measure proposed, he stands as a sentinel on the watch-towers, and his fellow members have so much confidence in him that a measure opposed by him has small chance of success."
   During his three terms at the Texas capitol Camp served on a number of legislative committees. including Internal Improvement, Public Roads, Ferries and Bridges, Federal Relations, Public Health and Vital Statistics and Private Land Claims. He also chaired the committee on State Asylums during the 1885-1887 and 1888 sessions of the legislature. 
  A.G. Camp died in office on September 8, 1888 at his home in Groesbeck. He was subsequently memorialized as a "chivalrous and knightly man" by his fellow representatives, as well as an "honest and faithful tribune of the people." He was survived by his wife Juliet, and following her death in February 1900 was interred alongside her husband at the Faulkenberry Cemetery in Groesbeck, Texas.

Portrait courtesy of the Texas Legislative Reference Library.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Jubal Converse Gleason (1837-1890), Jubal Herndon Cummins (1860-1938)

Portrait courtesy of the State Library of Massachusetts.

    Today we highlight an oddly named political duo, both of whom are named "Jubal".  A name that hearkens back to the Book of Genesis, this biblical Jubal is mentioned as being the "father of all those that handle the harp and pipe." We'll begin our write-up in Plymouth, Massachusetts with one Jubal Converse Gleason, a prominent physician and multi-term state legislator from that county. The son of Andrew and Celia Harwood Gleason, Jubal C. Gleason was born the Worcester County town of Hubbardston on on November 9, 1837. 
   A student in the public schools of Hubbardston and the New Salem Academy, Jubal Gleason enrolled at the Amherst College in 1859 and graduated four years later. He continued his studies at the Harvard University medical school and following his graduation in 1867 launched his medical practice in Gilbertville, Massachusetts. On July 31st of that year Gleason married to Anna Pierce Sayles, with whom he would have two children, Everett Harwood (who died aged five in 1876) and Emma Willard (born 1872). 
   After a three year residency in Gilbertville Gleason removed to the town of Rockland, located in Plymouth County. He would reside here for the remainder of his life and in addition to practicing medicine built up a reputation as one of the town's most respected office holders. For twelve years Gleason served as chairman of the Rockland School Board and for three years chaired the Rockland Board of Health. In 1869 he was elected as one of Plymouth County's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court and during the 1870-71 term held a seat on the joint standing committee on Federal Relations.
   At the conclusion of his term in 1871 Gleason returned to Rockland, and in 1877  was named as medical examiner for Plymouth County's 2nd district. Nine years later Gleason was returned to the Massachusetts General Court as a state representative, and in 1887 won election to the State Senate. His senate service extended from 1887-1889 and during those terms served on the committees on the Liquor Law, Education and Public Health. 
   Shortly after leaving the state senate Jubal Gleason died in at his home in Rockland, his death occurring on November 1, 1890 at age 52. At the time of his passing he had been a councilor and member of the Massachusetts Medical Society and was survived his wife and daughter. A burial location for both Gleason and his family remains unknown at the time of this writing.

From the Tennessee legislature composite portrait, 1891-92.

    Unlike the man who preceded him here, Tennessee state representative Jubal Herndon Cummins has had very little information on his life come to light, hence why his biography here will be on the short side. A lifelong native of Tennessee, Cummins was born on August 3, 1860 and married to Genevra Thurman (1862-1938) in the early 1880s. The couple would later have a total of six children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Lydia Estelle (1885-1953), Carl Thurman (1889-1977), John Oliver (1892-1983), Anna Mary (1894-1984), James Henry (1899-1986) and Guillelmine (1901-1996). 
    Little could be located on Cummins' personal life, excepting notice that he was a "prominent farmer and millwright" for a good majority of his life. Cummins would represent Cannon County in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1890-1892. He was elected to a second term in 1892 and during the 1893-95 session served on the committees on Judiciary and Sanitation. Following his two terms in the state house, Cummins appears to have disappeared from the pages of history. He died sometime in 1938 and was later buried at the Smyrna Cemetery in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stobo James Simpson (1853-1910)

Portrait from the Transactions of the South Carolina Bar Association, 1910.

   We continue our stay in South Carolina to highlight the life of another strangely named Palmetto State lawyer and legislator, Stobo James Simpson of Spartanburg County. Descended from a family with extensive roots in South Carolina public life, Stobo James Simpson was born in Laurens County, South Carolina on March 14, 1853, being the son of John Wistar and Anne Patillo Farrow Simpson. John Wister Simpson (1821-1893) was a lawyer and younger brother of William Dunlap Simpson (1823-1890), a member of the Confederate Congress, North Carolina Governor and Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. 
  Bestowed the unusual first name "Stobo" upon his birth, Simpson looks to have been given this name in honor of the Rev. Archibald Stobo (1670-1737), a Scotsman who later migrated to South Carolina and became a "Presbyterian minister of Charleston." Stobo Simpson attended the "village schools" of Laurens and later studied at the Laurens Male Academy. He would enter Princeton University in 1871 but later left that school to begin a teaching career in his home county.  He began reading law during this time and in 1876 passed the state bar. 
  Shortly after being admitted to practice Simpson settled in Greenville, where he would establish a law office. He removed from here a few months later, and after resettling in Spartanburg entered into a law partnership with his famous uncle, William D. Simpson, who would soon be elected as Lieutenant Governor of the state. Their firm continued until 1879, when Simpson joined the firm of Evins and Bomar. That firm would undergo a name change in 1884 to Bomar and Simpson, a name that would continue until Simpson's death in 1910.
   In May 1886 Stobo J. Simpson married his cousin Mary Eloise Simpson (1855-1931), a daughter of the aforementioned William Dunlap Simpson. In the same year as his marriage Stobo Simpson won election as one of Spartanburg County's representatives to the South Carolina General Assembly. A member of the judiciary committee during that session of the legislature, Simpson refused to be a candidate for renomination at the end of his term.
  After several years away from politics Simpson became a candidate for the South Carolina State Senate in 1892, running on the Anti-Tillman (Conservative) platform. He would lose that election, and three years later was again a losing candidate, this time for Spartanburg's delegate to the state Constitutional Convention. Following this loss Simpson would refrain from pursuing elected office, with the Laurens Advertiser noting:
"Although any office in the gift of of the people of the State could have been Mr. Simpson's had he wanted it, he always refrained from politics in later life, being content to remain in his law office and continue the good deeds which made men out of youths, which protected widowed mothers who turned their business interests over to him and whose advice was always heeded"
  Following his brief time in state government Simpson continued with his law practice and in 1899  was elected to fill a vacancy on the Converse College Board of Trustees, serving here until his death, which occurred on October 28, 1910 after "after an illness of two months." Simpson was survived by his wife Mary, who died in August 1931. Both were later interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Simpson's obituary from the Laurens Advertiser, November 2, 1910.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Faber Weissinger Kearse (1899-1943)

Portrait from "The State" Columbia, South Carolina, October 15, 1943.

  Despite his death at the age of just forty-four Bamberg, South Carolina native Faber Weissinger Kearse carved a notable career for himself as a lawyer and multi-term legislator, representing Bamberg County in the state house of representatives for four terms. He would also serve as Speaker pro tem of the house during the 1931-32 session of the legislature. The youngest of eight children born to Joseph Josiah (1850-1930) and Mildred Bamberg Kearse (1854-1949), Faber Weissinger Kearse was born in Olar, South Carolina on September 9, 1899.
   Faber Kearse would graduate from the Carlisle Military School at Bamberg in 1917 and later attended the Citadel in Charleston. A veteran of the First World War, Kearse resumed his studies following his military service, graduating from the Wofford College in the class of 1920. Deciding to pursue a career in law, Kearse studied at the University of South Carolina's law school, receiving his bachelor of laws degree in the class of 1924. Shortly after being admitted to practice Kearse relocated to Jacksonville, Florida and during his residency there "engaged in legal work". He would return to Bamberg shortly afterward and with his brother James Carlisle (a state senator) established the law firm of Kearse and Kearse. 
   Harboring political ambitions of his own, Faber W. Kearse first entered political life in South Carolina in 1922 when he took on the post of clerk of the judiciary committee in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He remained in that post until 1925 and two years later married in Bamberg to Ms. Marie Dantzler (1906-1974). The couple would later become parents to two sons, Faber Weissinger Jr. (1928-2001) and Olin Dantzler (1931-2004).

Portrait from the Garnet and Black Yearbook, 1924.

   In 1928 Faber Kearse was elected to his first term in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He took his seat at the start of the January 1929 session and won a second term in 1930. During the 1931-32 session Kearse served as Speaker pro tem of the house, but failed to win a third consecutive term, being defeated by fellow Bamberg native John Welsey Crum. In September 1934 Kearse would regain his house seat, besting Crum in the vote count, 1,988 to 1,427. Two years later Kearse decided not to be a candidate for reelection, but returned to political life in 1938, when he was elected to a fourth term in the legislature.
   Active in other areas of South Carolina public life, Faber Kearse served as Bamberg County attorney for a time and was "a delegate to the state Democratic convention several times." Kearse was also a longstanding member of both the Lions Club and the American Legion, serving as the commander of the Bamberg County Legion Post until his death.
  Faber Weissinger Kearse died on October 14, 1943 at the Tri-County Hospital in Bamberg. He had celebrated his forty-fourth birthday just one month prior to his passing and was survived by his mother Mildred, wife Marie and two sons. Kearse was later interred at the South End Cemetery in Bamberg.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Clitus Bourdeaux Walker (1877-1960)

Portrait from the Official and Statistical Record of Mississippi, 1912-1914.

   A lifelong resident of Lauderdale County, Mississippi, Clitus Bourdeaux Walker represented that county in his state's legislature for one term in the mid 1910s. The son of former state representative Richard Parish Walker and Harriet Eliza Bourdeaux, Clitus B. Walker was born in Lauderdale County on December 22, 1877. He would receive his unusual first and middle names in honor of his uncle Clitus O. Bourdeaux (1852-1950), the brother of Harriett Eliza. 
  Walker attended school in the county of his birth, being a student at the Causeyville High School. He later studied at the Meridian Male College and from 1903 to 1905 was a public school teacher. Walker is later mentioned as being a farmer and merchant in the Meridian  area and in 1911 was elected to the Mississippi State House of Representatives. His term in the legislature extended from 1912-1914 and during that session served on the following house committees: Appropriations, Roads, Ferries and Bridges, Public Lands, and Immigration and Labor. 
  Little information could be located on Clitus B. Walker's life following his time in state government. He appears to have been a life long bachelor (as he is listed as being unmarried in his Mississippi state register biography) and died on June 22, 1960 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. The 83 year old former legislator was later interred at the Lauderdale Cemetery in that county, the same resting place as that of his mother.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Narcissus Augustus Dorn (1852-1926)

Portrait courtesy of the webpage.

   Intriguingly named California jurist Narcissus Augustus Dorn sports one of the most eye-popping names I've stumbled across in quite some time, and hails from a state that, while large in size and population, has fielded only a small number of oddly named political figures--ten of whom have been profiled here over the past four years.  A former district attorney of Monterey County California, Dorn went on to further public distinction in the early 1890s when he was elected as Superior Court Judge for Monterey County, serving on the bench for over a decade. Sadly I have no intriguing backstory as to how Dorn came to receive his unusual first name, but I'm fairly certain that he is the only American jurist ever to be named in honor of the Greek huntsman Narcissus, who, if you'll remember, drowned after falling in love with his image reflected in a pool of water. The name Narcissus would later give us the term narcissism, a fixation on one's looks and appearance.
   An Iowan by birth, Narcissus Augustus Dorn was born on May 27, 1852 in the then burgeoning city of Council Bluffs, being the second born child of Nicodemus Andrew Jackson Dorn (1829-1903) and his wife, the former Rebecca Ellen Walters (1833-1903). As the proud possessor of an unusual name, Nicodemus A.J. Dorn would bestow similar odd names on five of his eleven children, and in addition to Narcissus the Dorn family saw the births of Marcellus Americus (1857-1900), Nicodemus Andrew Jackson (died in childhood), Diodemus Socrates (1860-1913) and Effie Pacific (1873-1942). Truly a brood of interestingly named siblings!! 
   When their son was less than a year old the Dorn family left Council Bluffs for California, eventually settling in Watsonville. They later resided in Visalia and Los Angeles before finally settling in Marysville, where Dorn engaged in work upon the family farm. Due to his family's frequent moves, Narcissus Dorn' s education was gained by:
"Attending such schools as the various localities could afford, or when work on the farm would permit of his attending them."
   Through diligent study and hard work Narcissus Dorn became a teacher in the Santa Cruz and Monterey County area. He married in October 1873 to Josephine McCusker (1854-1946), a daughter of a well-to-do Irish rancher. The couple would become parents to six children, listed as follows in order of birth: Mabel T. (born 1875), Narcissus (died in infancy in 1876), Daniel (1877- 1896), Carl (1879-1964), Ethel (born 1881), Elsie (1883-1905) and Marcella (1892-1949).
   Harboring ambitions to become a lawyer, Dorn began law studies in the office of San Jose Judge Lawrence Archer and in October 1874 was admitted to practice. Soon after establishing his law office in Salinas, California, Dorn's career as an attorney blossomed, so much so that just over a year after being admitted to practice he was elected as District Attorney of Salinas CountyJust twenty-three years of age at the time of his election, Dorn served a two year term as District Attorney, leaving office in 1877. In 1879 he was reelected to that office, and upon the conclusion of that term retired " with a record of which any young practitioner might be proud." In the early 1880s he joined in a law partnership with William M.R. Parker at Salinas, California, their firm continuing until 1890.
   In 1890 Dorn's political profile received a significant boost when he was given the Republican nomination for Superior Court Judge of Monterey County. He would win that election and officially took his seat on the bench January 1, 1891. Dorn won reelection in 1896 and served another six year term on the Superior Court until January 1903, having been defeated for a third term the previous November by Democratic nominee Bradley Varnum Sargent Jr.

Narcissus Dorn and his second wife Sarah, portrait courtesy of

   In 1895 Dorn and his wife Josephine divorced after twenty-two years of marriage. Several years following his divorce he remarried in December 1902  to San Francisco native Sarah Jane de la Montanya (1861-1955). Described as "a woman of great wealth", Sarah de la Montanya was the daughter of William James de la Montanya (1819-1899), a prominent San Francisco based businessman. Following their nuptials the couple took a lengthy honeymoon through Europe, and after returning to the United States resided in San Francisco.
   Prior to his death Dorn maintained a law practice with his son Carl but is known to have "practiced very little" during his residency in San Francisco. Narcissus A. Dorn died in that city on July 1, 1926 at age 74. He was survived by his second wife Sarah and four of his children. He was later interred at the famed Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California. Sarah Dorn survived her husband by nearly three decades, and following her death at age 94 in 1955 was laid to rest at the same cemetery as her husband.