Monday, July 25, 2016

Pitkin Cowles Wright (1834-1896)

Portrait courtesy of

     An attorney and masonic leader in Clinton County, Iowa, Pitkin Cowles Wright was a transplant to that state from Connecticut. Following his relocation to Iowa in the mid 1850s he set up a law practice and during his residency in Clinton County served as Mayor of the town of De Witt and later, County Judge. Attaining high rank in the masonic fraternity, Wright served as Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of Iowa, holding that post from 1871-72.
   Pitkin C. Wright was born in Canaan, Connecticut on May 17, 1834, being the son of Dr. Albert Alfred and Frances Anne Cowles Wright. Young Pitkin was afforded "the benefit of an excellent education" and would be a student at the Williams College in Massachusetts. He graduated in the class of 1852 and shortly thereafter began reading law. After three years of study he was admitted to the bar and in 1855 relocated to Binghamton, New York, where he joined the law firm of Hotchkiss and Seymour.
   Wright's time in New York lasted only a year, and, seeing a bright future for himself in the American west, began a lengthy trek to Iowa. By the fall of 1856 Wright had established himself as a lawyer in the town of Camanche, then just a small village in Clinton County. He resettled in the town of De Witt in 1857 and soon began to establish roots in that community. Wright married in September 1861 to Clara Edwards (born 1839), with whom he had three children: Julius Albert (born 1862), Katherine (born 1867) and Pitkin (born 1870).
  With a few years of resettling in De Witt, Pitkin C. Wright had made headway into the political life of that town, being elected as its Mayor in 1862. He was returned to that office in 1870 and from 1864-65 served as Judge of Clinton County, an office "whose duties he acceptably performed for some time." In addition to politics Wright was a leading light in Iowa masonic circles for over a decade, first joining the De Witt Lodge No. 34 in May 1863. He would advance to Warden a few years later and by 1870 was serving as Worshipful Master of the Right Hand Lodge No. 281. The following list is but a brief snippet of the advancement Wright made during his time as a Mason in Iowa.
   In 1874 Pitkin Wright and his family removed from Iowa and resettled in Nashville, Tennessee. Wright dabbled in insurance for several years and by 1884 was employed as an agent in the Tennessee agency for the Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, based in Nashville. In 1887 Wright began service as Secretary of the Tennessee Press Association, and following his removal to Memphis the following year continued in that office. 
   Following his move to Nashville Wright is recorded as doing "special work on the Appeal and other local papers" and in December 1888 suffered an attempt on his life when unknown assailants fired a pistol shot through the window of his room at the Fransioll House, the bullet subsequently splintering the headboard of Wright's bed (within two inches of his head) and burying itself in a wall! Wright is reported to have been unharmed in the incident.
   After many years of public prominence in both Iowa and Tennessee, Pitkin Cowles Wright died in Somerville, Tennessee on September 14, 1896 at age 62. He was still serving as Secretary of the Tennessee Press Association at the time of his passing and was survived by his wife and children. He was later interred at a cemetery in Somerville, its exact name being unknown at this time.

From the Johnson City "Comet", Sept. 24, 1896.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bickerton Lyle Winston (1857-1904)

Portrait from the Richmond Post-Dispatch, December 13, 1904.

   Following up on July 16th's profile of Virginia state delegate Moncure Woodson Camper, we continue our stay in Virginia to examine the life of a man named odd first name to be sure! A standout figure in the county of Hanover, Bickerton Lyle Winston was for many years active in the fields of both medicine and politics, being a two term member of the State House of Delegates as well as serving on the State Board of Medical Examiners. 
  Born into a prominent Hanover County family, Bickerton Lyle Winston was born on February 8, 1857, one of several children born to William Overton and Sarah Ann (Gregory) Winston. He began his schooling in the public schools of Hanover and later attended the Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. Deciding upon a career in the medical field, Winston enrolled in the medical school at the University of New York City and received his medical degree in the class of 1884.
   In the late 1870s Bickerton L. Winston married to Fanny Byrd Tunstall (1850-1936). The couple would later have seven children born their union, including Bickerton Lyle Jr. (1880-1966), Frances Byrd (1891-1989) and Josephine Allen (1893-1982)
  After receiving his medical license Winston returned to Hanover Court House, Virginia to begin his practice, residing there until his death two decades later. Winston would also engage in farming in addition to practicing medicine, serving as president of the Virginia State Farmer's Alliance in the early 1890s.  
   During his years as a practicing physician Bickerton L. Winston was especially devoted to the affairs of the deaf, and for several years served as a member of the Board of Visitors for the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, located in Staunton. Winston's eldest son, Bickerton Lyle Jr. (1880-1966) suffered from deafness and beginning in 1897 was enrolled as a student at the aforementioned school. Winston's tenure on the board of the Staunton school received prominent mention in his memorial notice published in the New York Deaf and Mutes Journal a few days after his passing. In it, Winston is remarked as having:
"Served with ability, and his services were always along lines practical, helpful and far reaching into the good all the while. He was unselfish, conscientious, nurturing and devoted to the deaf--largely because of having a deaf boy, perhaps. To him much credit is due for the condition of the school to-day, for he never lost any interest in it or in the class."
From the 1898-99 Virginia House of Delegates composite photograph.

   In 1892 Bickerton Lyle Winston entered the political life of his state for the first time, serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that nominated Grover Cleveland for the presidency. Two years later Winston was elected to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates that had been occasioned by the resignation of Richard H. Cardwell, who had recently been elected to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Winston served out the remainder of Cardwell's term and in 1895 was elected to a term of his own in the legislature. He would win a second full term in 1897 and wasn't a candidate for renomination in 1899. 
   Winston's six years in the legislature saw him sit on the committees on Prisons and Asylums, General Laws, Agriculture and Mining, as well as taking a special interest "in all matters relating to humane institutions of the state." Winston was also responsible for introducing a bill that advocated "separate institutions" for the blind and deaf, as well as requesting that a school for the blind be established in Ashland, Virginia. Despite "being reported favorably to the committee of the house to which it was referred", the bill wouldn't pass
  Following his time in the legislature Winston continued in the practice of medicine and for three years (1901-1904) served as a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners. In the last several months of his life Winston suffered through a "protracted illness" that would eventually lead to his death on December 11, 1904. Just 47 years old at the time of his death, Winston was survived by his wife and children and was later interred at the Blenheim Winston Cemetery in Hanover.

From the Richmond Times Dispatch, Dec. 14, 1904.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Moncure Woodson Camper (1846-1923)

 Moncure W. Camper.

    A newspaper publisher based in both Virginia and Alabama, Moncure Woodson Camper was affiliated with journalism and publishing for a good majority of his seventy-six years, and that long lifespan also saw him become politcally active, serving as Mayor of Fincastle, Virginia as well as a term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Following his time in the legislature Camper removed to Alabama to continue his trade, and would serve as President of the Alabama Press Association several years after his resettlement.
   The son of Henry and Elizabeth Camper, Moncure Woodson Camper was born in Fincastle, Virginia on August 8, 1846, He attended schools native to Fincastle and shortly after graduating from the Fincastle Academy enlisted in the Confederate Army in May 1864. Joining a contingent of "home guards", Camper would later be transferred to Company D. of the Eleventh Virginia Infantry, serving in the brigade of General (and future Virginia Governor) James Lawson Kemper, who was himself a brigade commander under George Pickett. Camper's tenure in "Pickett's Division" saw him in "all its movements around Richmond and Petersburg" and he served with that unit until being discharged at Lynchburg, Virginia at war's conclusion.
   After reentering civilian life Camper saw a bright future for himself in newspaper publishing, and with a partner established the Fincastle Herald in 1866. He would hold the posts of editor and publisher and later bought out his partner's interest, continuing to run the paper alone until its sale in 1889. Campoer married in February 1879 to Amelia "Minnie" Browne (1855-1930), a native of New Orleans. The couple were wed for nearly fifty years and had two children, Julia Hartwell (1879-1963) and Ambrose Brown (1881-1956)
   Camper entered politics in the 1870s when he was elected as Mayor of Fincastle, an office that he would be reelected to twice (his total dates of service being unknown at this time.) In November 1883 Camper was elected as one of Botetourt County's representatives to the Virginia State House of Delegates by "a clean majority of over 900." Serving in the 1884-86 session, Camper sat on the committees on elections, the military and public printing. 
   In 1889 Moncure Camper sold off his interest in the Fincastle Herald and removed to Florence, Alabama. After a period of gathering funds, Camper purchased the Florence Wave, of which he would serve as editor. Some moths later he would sell off his interest in that paper and founded the Florence Times, which issued its first pages in 1890.

Portrait from the Notable Men of Alabama, Vol. II, 1904.

   Camper's prominent reputation and stewardship of the Florence Times led to his being named as President of the Alabama Press Association in 1895. His time in that post concluded in 1897 and in the following year was selected as one of two Lauderdale County delegates to the upcoming state constitutional convention, but due to the repeal "of the law providing for the revision of the constitution", the convention of 1898 never came to fruition. 
   Active in a number of civic groups in Florence, Camper served seven years as president of the Florence Business Men's League, was a director of the Florence Merchant's Bank, and also was a past worshipful master in the local masonic lodge. In the latter portion of his life Camper served as postmaster of Florence and after eight years in that role died in office on January 14, 1923 at age 76. Camper was subsequently memorialized by his contemporaries as a:
"Unusually attractive man who drew about him a large circle of friends. He gave himself modestly, but untiringly, to the betterment of his community and State, and he will be missed by all those who knew him."
   Camper's widow Minnie survived her husband by seven years, dying on July 7, 1930. Both Camper and his wife were interred at the Florence Cemetery, as are as their two children. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Attilla Cox (1843-1909)

From the Breckinridge News, July 14, 1909.
   We conclude our stay in Kentucky with a look at the life of Attilla Cox, very likely the only American political figure named after that well-known ancient Germanic despot Attila the Hun (died 453), who pillaged, looted and conquered numerous cities throughout Central and Western Europe. Despite sharing the name "Attilla" with such a fearsome military leader, Attilla Cox was one of the most well-liked and respected men in his section of Kentucky, being remarked as a "man possessed of wonderful ability", as well as a "gentleman of rare intelligence, business sagacity and tact".
   One of the most prominent business leaders in the cities of Owenton and Louisville, Cox was a past President of the Louisville, Henderson and St. Louis Railroad. He earns a place here on the site due to his service in the Kentucky State Senate in the mid 1880s, as well as for his being a delegate to the 1884 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
    A lifelong Kentucky native, Attilla Cox was born in the town of Ghent on August 16, 1843, being the son of James P. and Felicia Obussier Cox. He would attend school in Carroll County and later studied at the Ghent College until the age of thirteen. Left fatherless at the age of thirteen, Cox relocated to Louisville to take work as a clerk in a general store, remaining in that employ until age 18. In 1862 he and his older brother Florian established themselves in Warsaw, Kentucky, where they built up a dry goods business under the firm name F & A. Cox
  After several years in Warsaw the Cox brothers moved their business to Owenton, and were joined by two other brothers, James and Luke. In June 1869 Attilla Cox married to Kate Ware Martin (1850-1919). The couple were wed for nearly forty years and would have three children, Leonard M., Attilla J. (1875-1935) and Katharyne (1881-1907). Of these children Attilla Cox Jr. would follow his father into public service, being a Louisville based attorney and decorated officer during the First World War.

                                                    Attilla Cox as he appeared in the late 1880s.

   Attilla Cox's residency in Owenton saw him find success in merchandising but also banking and railroading. For a time Cox held the position of cashier of the Owenton First National Bank and is also recorded as being the "promoter and owner of stage lines and telephone connecting Owenton and Warsaw with the Short Line railroad." He would enter politics in 1879 when he won a seat in the state senate and during the 1880-83 session sat on the following committees: Banks and Insurance, Internal Improvements, Railroads and the Sinking Fund.
  Cox would win another term in the senate in the early 1880s and during that term served as part of the Kentucky delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that nominated Grover Cleveland for the Presidency. In 1885 Cox removed to Louisville to except the appointment of Collector of Internal Revenue for Kentucky's 5th district, being named to that post by President Cleveland.
   Cox's tenure as internal revenue collector ended in 1893 when he retired due to the election of Republican Benjamin Harrison to the Presidency. Shortly after leaving office Cox became the primary organizer of the Mechanics Savings Bank and Trust Company, which later merged with the Columbia Finance and Trust Company. He would serve as president of the latter company until his death and was also affiliated with a number of other business concerns, including the directorships of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company, the Mutual Life Insurance Company of Kentucky and the Louisville Gas Company.
   In August of 1892 Attilla Cox began a four year stint as receiver of the Louisville, St. Louis and Texas Railroad. Upon that company's reorganization in 1896 as the Louisville, Henderson and St. Louis Railway Company Cox was named as its president, continuing in that role until his death thirteen years later.
   Attilla Cox maintained an active role in his community until a few weeks before his death at age 66 on July 7, 1909. His death occurred after an illness of several weeks and was reported by the Cloverport Breckinridge News as having caused "widespread sorrow" throughout Louisville and the neighboring areas. He was survived by his wife Kate, who, following her death in 1917, was interred alongside her husband at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.

From the Kentucky Irish American, June 2, 1900.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fallis Vernon Buky (1904-1998)

Portrait from a Buky campaign card.

   We continue our stay in Kentucky for a look at the life of two term state representative Fallis Vernon Buky, a longtime resident of Jefferson County in that state. Born on February 6, 1904 in Kentucky, Fallis Buky was a son of Vernon (born 1870) and Mattie Hill Buky. Little is known of Buky's early years or education, excepting brief mention of his attending the Clark College of Commerce in Kentucky. He married in Louisville on September 11, 1925 to Ms. Mildred Bibb (1903-1999), to whom he was wed for over seventy years. Their lengthy union saw the births of two children, Vernon C. (1927-1979) and Lois Jean. 
   For forty-five years "Pop" Buky was employed as a supervisor for the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, and in 1961 was elected to represent Kentucky's 40th district in the state legislature. He would win a second term in 1963 and during this term represented the 40th legislative district, leaving office in 1967.
   In addition to his time in the legislature Buky was for many years a parishioner at the Immanuel Baptist church of Frankfort as well as being a member of the masonic order and the Kosair Shriners. Fallis V. Buky died in Kentucky on September 4, 1998 at age 94 and was later interred at the Resthaven Memorial Cemetery in Louisville. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Farmer Johnson Eversole (1874-1952)

Portrait from the History of Kentucky, Vol. IV, 1922.

   Kentucky yields another odd named public figure in Farmer Johnson Eversole, for many years an active member of the Perry County bar. A former County Attorney for Perry County, Eversole would later be appointed as Master Commissioner of the Circuit Court of Perry County and served seven years in that post.
  The son of George Washington Eversole and the former Susannah Johnson, Farmer Johnson Eversole was born on October 20, 1874. His education took place in the public schools of Perry County and the Booneville Academy and at age fourteen is recorded as a teacher in the Perry and Lee County school systems. He continued along this route for eight years and later enrolled at the University of Kentucky, his dates of study being unknown at this time. 
   Eversole entered local politics for the first time in 1898 when he began a stint as Deputy County clerk for Perry County. He would serve in that post for about a year, and in 1899 was admitted to the Kentucky bar. Three years later he was elected as Perry County Attorney, and during his four year term "proved his resourcefulness as a trial lawyer." Eversole married during his term in 1905 to Mary Cassandra Morgan (1884-1936), with whom he had four children: Farmer Jr. (1905-1962), Susie (1907-1980), Homer  and Jessie Elmer.
   In 1915 Farmer Eversole returned to Kentucky political life when he was appointed as Master Commissioner of the Perry County Circuit Court, his primary function being to aid said court in the "discharge of its duties and the enforcement of its judgments." His tenure extended until 1922, having "given characteristically effective service" to his appointed office.
  Active in several business concerns in Perry County, Farmer Eversole held the vice presidency of both the Perry County Bank and the Concoa Coal Company. A longstanding member of the masonic fraternity, Eversole served as a delegate to the Masonic Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1908. Little could be found on the latter period of Farmer Eversole's life, excepting notice of his death in Knoxville, Tennessee on December 19, 1952 at age 77. He was preceded in death by his wife in 1936 and both were interred at the Englewood Cemetery in Hazard.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Chadwell Fleming Campbell Nolan (1845-1923)

Portrait courtesy of the Kentucky State Historical Society.

   After several years of being a state that has been sadly underrepresented here on the site, Kentucky has recently started to yield a number of oddly named political figures, mainly due to the discovery of the following legislative roster listing the name of every Kentucky state representative that served between 1900 and 1948. Ryland Christmas Musick (profiled back on June 30th) was found here, as well as the name of today's "honoree", Chadwell Fleming Campbell Nolan!
  One of the most plentifully named men to serve in the Kentucky legislature, Chadwell F.C. Nolan (also spelled Nolen) was a Civil War veteran who, following his military service, became a leading citizen in Harlan County, where he was active in local mining and lumber concerns. He would serve one term in the Kentucky legislature and, like Ryland C. Musick before him, lost his life in a tragic accident in the early 1920s. 
   Born in Harlan County, Kentucky on March 5, 1845, Chadwell Fleming Campbell Nolan was one of thirteen children born to Joseph (1790-1872) and Mary Marsee Nolan (1793-1870). During the Civil War Nolan served as a member of the "Home Guards" in Kentucky and is mentioned as having been "actively engaged on several occasions with marauding bands of Confederate soldiers." He married on February 4, 1863 to Louisa Jane Turner (1845-1918), to whom he was wed for five decades. Their lengthy union would see the births of fourteen children, five of whom were still living at the time of Nolan's death in 1923.
   Following his war service Nolan was affiliated with "several large corporations" that were responsible for locating mineral rich properties in Harlan County. Later business ventures saw him dabble in the "lumber and stave business", and in the succeeding years the name of Chadwell F.C. Nolan grew to be one of the most prominent in Harlan County, eventually resulting in two area communities (Chad and Nolansburg) being named in his honor. Nolan's obituary in the Harlan Enterprise relates that "no other man in Kentucky had the distinction of having two railroad stations named for him", and that his home in Chad was a source of entertainment and hospitality for many a traveler and friend that passed through town.
   Nolan's prominence in Harlan County eventually culminated in his being nominated for a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1901. Taking his seat at the start of 1902-04 session, Nolan would represent not only Harlan County but also those of Bell, Perry and Leslie and would sit on the committees on Public Warehouses and Granaries and Suffrage and Elections. During his brief time in state government Nolan is referred to as an "active adherent" to the construction of a new state capitol building and introduced a bill that would change the name of the Harlan County seat from Mt. Pleasant to Harlan. Confusingly, Nolan's obituary in the Harlan Enterprise records him as having served two consecutive terms in house (1900-1904). This happens to be false, as the aforementioned roster of Kentucky representatives lists Nolan as serving from 1902-04, with no mention of his name appearing in the 1900-02 roster
   Following his time in the legislature Chadwell Nolan continued to be a figure of distinction in Harlan County, maintaining an active role in his community up until his death via a train accident on December 23, 1923. On that date Nolan had taken a stroll when he stopped near rail road tracks to let a rapidly moving freight train pass by him. Having "stepped back" to let the train pass, Nolan was unaware of a "switch train" that was following close behind the freight train, and was struck in the back by it. The injured Nolan was placed in a caboose on the train and was then taken to a hospital in Lynch, Kentucky, where he later died of his injuries. A burial location for him remains unknown at this time, but is presumed to be somewhere in the vicinity of Harlan County, where Nolan had resided for all of his life.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ryland Christmas Musick (1884-1924)

                                                           Portrait courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society.

  One of the more humorous names you'll find while perusing a list of Kentucky state legislators, Ryland Christmas Musick represented the counties of Breathitt, Lee and Magoffin in the Kentucky House of Representatives for one term in the late 1910s. Born (appropriately enough) on Christmas Day 1884 in Russell County, Virginia, Ryland Christmas Musick was the son of the Rev. Elexious F. and Rebecca Ann Musick.
  A student at both the Georgetown College and the University of Kentucky, Ryland Musick graduated from the latter school's law department in the mid 1900s. He married in 1908 to Bessie Peoples (1887-1946), with whom he had four children: Juanita Lenora (died in infancy in 1909), Arthur Judson (born 1911) and twin sons Hansel Walton and Ryland Dalton (born April 19, 1914). 
   Prior to establishing a law practice Musick engaged in "newspaper and journalistic work", being the editor of the Jackson Times. He began the practice of his profession in that city and in 1911 was elected as City Attorney of Jackson, serving in that capacity from 1912-13. In November 1917 he was elected to the Kentucky State House of Representatives from the counties of Breathitt, Lee and Magoffin and during the 1918-20 term served on the committees on the Geological Survey, Juvenile Courts and Children's Homes, Retrenchment and Reform, Legislative Redistricting and Suffrage and Elections.
   A member of the Elks and Knights of Pythias Lodges, Ryland Musick continued to advance politically during his time in the legislature, being an unsuccessful candidate for Kentucky State Attorney General in the 1919 Democratic primary. Profiled in the July 26, 1919 edition of the Kentucky Irish American, Musick was touted as a "lawyer of ability" and:
"As a legislator he voted and made a speech for the eight hour law, the twice a month pay bill and other legislation and supported appropriation bills to make secure the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville, and the State Fair, all of which mean so much to Louisville"
  Despite carrying both Madison and Powell County in the vote count Ryland Musick was defeated for the Democratic nomination by Frank Daughtery. Four years later he was again a candidate for state Attorney General and lost out to the same man who had bested him in 1919, Frank E. Daugherty

                                                              From the Kentucky Irish American, July 26, 1919.

   In the year of his death Ryland Musick was a candidate in the Democratic Congressional primary from Kentucky's 9th district, running against future U.S. Treasury Secretary and Supreme Court Chief Justice Frederick Moore Vinson. On election day (August 2, 1924) it was Vinson who won out, defeating Musick by a vote of 18,284 to 7,308
   Just a few weeks following that primary loss Musick undertook a business trip to Virginia and on August 22, 1924 the car in which he was a passenger lost control and turned over several times. Pinned underneath the wreckage, Musick was extricated from the vehicle and later died at a hospital near Lebanon, Virginia, aged just 39. He was survived by his wife Bessie, with his funeral taking place at Jonesboro, Tennessee. A burial location for him remains unknown at this time.