Thursday, August 27, 2015

Corsville Edmunds Stille (1876-1963)

                                                         Portrait from the Philadelphia Enquirer,June 3, 1909.

   After a month long break we're back! The following write-up takes us to New Jersey and one Corsville Edmunds Stille, one of the youngest men to ever to serve in the New Jersey legislature. The son of William and Zella Stille, Corsville Edmunds Stille was born in Millville, New Jersey on December 15, 1876. His early life was spent upon his family's farm in Tuckahoe in that state, and he would attend the public schools of that town. At age fourteen he entered into work as a machinist at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, remaining here for a decade. 
   Following his leaving the Baldwin Locomotive Works Stille found employment as the manager the American Bicycle Company, located in Washington, D.C. The 1908 Manual of the New Jersey Legislature notes that "after the failure of that firm" Stille became affiliated with a wholesale hardware business in New Jersey, but was forced to leave on an account of ill health. This same work later relates that Still purchased a farm in his native Tuckahoe and in the succeeding years became a "proficient and studious agriculturalist."
   In the early 1900s Stille married to Laura Morrison (born 1879), about whom little is known. As a member of a "staunch Republican family" with its roots in Cape May County, Corsville Stille became the Secretary of the County Republican Executive Committee at just twenty-two years of age. In November 1906 he was elected to his first term in the New Jersey State Assembly. Just twenty-nine years old at the time of his election, Stille would serve one more term in the state assembly in the legislative session of 1909-1910 and held seats on the following committees: Claims and Revolutionary Pensions and Towns and Townships. 
   During his final term in the state assembly Corsville Stille announced his candidacy for the New Jersey State Senate. Known as an "enthusiastic champion of inland waterways and good roads", Stille was unsuccessful in his candidacy but wasn't out of the political spotlight for long. In November 1916 he won another term in the state assembly as a representative from Cape May County, subsequently serving on the committees on Federal Relations and StationeryLittle else could be found on Stille's life following his last assembly term, excepting notice of his death, which occurred sometime in November 1963. A burial location for him is also unknown at this time.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Elgie LaVernze Wasson (1875-1931)

Portrait from the "Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians".

    Pennsylvania yields another oddly named public figure in one Elgie LaVernze Wasson, a Butler County based surgeon and businessman. A two term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Wasson served during the 1911-12 legislative term, a session which featured such interestingly named legislators as Artanus L. Snyder, Mandus Welles Reeser, Plymouth W. Snyder, Eckley Walter Klingerman and the venerated Hillorious Kester Bender (now there's a name!)
   Elgie LaVernze Wasson was born in the city of New Castle, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1874, being the son of William J. and Samantha Jane Wasson. He would begin his schooling in the public school system of Butler County and was later a graduate of the Sunbury Academy. Following his graduation he entered upon a teaching career and followed that vocation for three years before deciding upon a career in medicine.
   In the late 1890s Wasson enrolled at the Baltimore Medical College and earned his medical degree in 1898. He continued study at Johns Hopkins University and after garduating in 1902 returned to Pennsylvania, establishing a medical practice in the town of Callery. Two years later he removed to the city of Butler, where he would continue to reside and practice for decades afterward. 
  Regarded as a "specialist in surgery and gynecology", Wasson served as head surgeon at the Butler County General Hospital and was also retained as head surgeon for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company's Butler district. A member of both the Butler County and Pennsylvania State Medical Society, Wasson also made a name for himself in a number of business concerns, several of which were located in other states. For a period of ten years he actively engaged in the "oil producing business" and was a director of the Evershed Land and Improvement Company in Niagara Falls, New York. Wasson also served as a director and Vice-President of the Western Slope Copper  Mining and Land Company based in Colorado and for a time was affiliated with California Touring and Land Co. and the Sun Film Manufacturing Co., both of Pittsburgh.
   Elgie Wasson made his first step into Pennsylvania political life in the late 1900s, winning election as Butler County's representative to the Pennsylvania State Assembly in 1908. He would win reelection two years later and during his four years in the house served on the committees on Banks and Banking; Congressional Apportionment;  Mines and Mining; Good Roads; Education; Military Affairs and Fish and Game. During the 1911-13 term Wasson chaired the committee on Health and Sanitation. 
   Little is known of Wassons life following his time in the legislature. Regarded as a prominent club man in the Butler area, he was an active Mason and was affiliated with the Elks, the Oil Men's Carnival Association and the Butler Country Club. Elgie L. Wasson died in Pennsylvania on June 13, 1931 of "pulmonary edema" and was survived by his wife Henrietta and a daughter, Joan (1917-2009).  He was later interred at North Side Cemetery in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dolphus Skinner Lynde (1833-1902)

                                                       Portrait from the Watertown Herald, February 27, 1897.

  Dolphus Skinner Lynde was for many years a political power player in St. Lawrence County, New York, being a four term assemblyman and three term state senator from that county. Mr. Lynde has been on my radar since locating his name via a New York Red Book way back in 2003, and for twelve years time no picture of him could be located (despite my best attempts at searching for one!) Earlier yesterday afternoon a newspaper print of him was (to my great surprise) finally located, via a February 27, 1897 edition of the Watertown Herald.
   A life-long New Yorker, Dolphus Skinner Lynde was born in Antwerp, Jefferson County, New York on July 1, 1833, being the eldest of eight children born to Benjamin Franklin and Catherine Cheney Lynde. His education began in the common schools of Jefferson County and as a youth attended the Gouveneur Wesleyan Seminary. Early in his life he would take work as a book keeper under Antwerp iron manufacturer James Sterling, and remained in his service for a period of three years. 
  In the early 1850s Lynde left Antwerp and resettled in the town of Hermon, located in St. Lawrence County. Lynde married in Hermon in 1853 to Esther Caul (1837-1936), to whom he was wed for nearly fifty years. The couple would have no children of their own, but would adopt a daughterGrace Pauline (1872-1961).  Lynde's residency in Hermon saw him become a founder and stockholder in the Cooper's Falls Iron Works, and would accumulate a small fortune "selling goods, milling, buying and selling cattle and real estate."
   Prior to 1864 Lynde pledged allegiance to the Democratic Party, and in that year changed parties when he cast his ballot for Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. From 1868-1871 he served as Township Supervisor of Hermon and served on the St. Lawrence County Board of Supervisors. In November 1870 he was elected to his first term in the New York State Assembly, and would be returned to that office on three further occasions  in 1872, 1873 and 1874. Lynde would chair the assembly committee on Internal Affairs during the sessions of 1872, 1873 and 1874 and in 1873 was a member of the committee on Railroads, Engrossed Bills and State Prisons. During his final term assemblyman Lynde introduced the Compulsory Education Act, a piece of legislation passed by the legislature that required:
"All parents and those who have the care of children shall instruct them, or cause them to be instructed, in spelling, reading, writing, English grammar, geography and arithmetic. And every parent, guardian or other person having control and charge of any child between the ages of eight and fourteen years shall cause such child to attend some public or private day school at least fourteen weeks in each year."
   Following a three year absence from the New York political scene Lynde reemerged as a candidate for the State Senate in 1877, hoping to represent the state's 17th district. That November he would defeat Democratic nominee James McNaughton "by a 5,859 majority." Lynde's first senate term saw him chair the committees on Manufactures and Agriculture and he would win a second term in the senate in November 1879, soundly defeating his Democratic opponent Albert Andrus by a vote of 18,922 to 10,179.

From the Norwood News, Sept. 9, 1879.

   The citizens of Lynde's senatorial district would elect him to a third term in the senate in 1881, and during the 1882-83 term was a member of the finance committee. In the mid 1880s he and his family removed from Hermon and settled in the neighboring town of Canton. In 1887 he assisted in the founding of the town's First National Bank, serving as its president until January of 1898. A series of "financial reverses" marred Lynde's last years, and just a few days prior to his death had filed for bankruptcy, with his debts being recorded as "over $13,000." Lynde had died on June 30, 1902, just one day before his 69th birthday. His cause of death was attributed to a stroke suffered on the piazza of his Canton home, with death occurring later that evening. He was survived by his adopted daughter Grace and his wife Esther, who died a year short of her hundredth birthday in 1936. The entire Lynde family was later interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Canton.

Lynde's obituary from the Potsdam Junction Commercial Advertiser, July 1902.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Aloney Lyman Rust (1876-1951)

Portrait from the Plattsburgh Daily Republican, October 29, 1937.

   A practicing physician for over four decades in the Franklin County, New York area, Dr. Aloney Lyman Rust was a two term candidate for the New York State Assembly from Franklin County. Born in Chateaugay, New York on September, 15, 1876, Aloney Lyman Rust was one of five children born to Dr. Elisha Aloney and Louisa Lyman Rust. His family relocated to the neighboring town of Moira when Aloney was a child and he would go on to attend the Franklin Academy at Malone.
   Following in his father's vocation, Rust decided upon a career in medicine and subsequently enrolled at Syracuse University, from which he earned his medical degree in the class of 1900. Shortly thereafter he began work at the St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, but remained here a short time, returning to Moira to take over his father's medical practice. After a short period there Rust removed his practice to the nearby town of Brushton and married here on October 19, 1904 to Litz Dustin (1874-1963), with whom he would have two childrenPhyllis (1906-1996) and Gordon E. (1909-1977) .
    Aloney L. Rust continued the practice of his profession in Brushton for several years, and in 1909 made his first foray into political life, being the Democratic candidate for the state assembly in November of that year. Sadly Rust did not fair well in that years election, with Franklin County voters electing Republican nominee Alexander McDonald by a majority of 1,300 votes. An electoral result from that contest was published in 1910 New York Red Book and is shown below.

Rust's middle initial is mistakenly given as "W" in this 1910 Red Book electoral result.

  Following his rather lopsided defeat at the polls, Aloney Rust removed his practice from Brushton to Malone in 1913. He remained here for the remainder of his life and became widely known throughout that area as:
"A fine example of the old time country doctor. Traveling by horse and buggy, he attended his patients about the countryside, even operating when necessary. He had the distinction of officiating at the first confinement case in the Alice Hyde Hospital."
   Nine years following his first assembly candidacy, Aloney Rust reentered the political arena when he was again put up as the Republican assembly nominee from Franklin County. Although he was dealt another loss (losing to Democrat Warren Thayer by a vote of  5,277 to 2,313) one can see the results weren't as overwhelming as they were nine years previously! After this defeat Rust refrained from further assembly candidacies, but reemerged on the local political scene in 1937 and 1946 when he was a candidate for Franklin County coroner.
   During the 1940s Rust was selected to serve as chairman of the Franklin County Selective Service Board and continued in this role until stepping down because of health concerns in 1950. In 1947 he retired from the active practice of medicine and three years later was honored by the New York State Medical Society for his fifty-year career in the medical field (which, according to his estimation, saw him deliver 1,400 babies!)
    Aloney Lyman Rust died at his Malone home on July 1, 1951 at the age of 74. He was survived by his wife and two children and was later interred at the Morningside Cemetery located in Malone. This cemetery is also notable for being the resting place of former U.S. Representative and state senator William Almon Wheeler, who would experience further distinction when he was elected as Vice-President of the United States in 1877, serving under Rutherford B. Hayes.

                                                 Aloney Rust during the time of his first assembly candidacy.

From the Chateaugay Record, July 6, 1951.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stanfield Pinkard McNeill (1827-1902)

Portrait courtesy of

     First there was Summerfield, then Peterfield, then Mansfield, and earlier this month, Wakefield. Those unusual "-field" based names are joined today by one Stanfield Pinkard McNeill, a native of Kentucky who, after relocating to Iowa during his youth, experienced marked success in public life, serving two terms in the Iowa General Assembly as a state representative.
    Born in Mason County, Kentucky on Valentine's Day 1827, Stanfield Pinkard McNeill was the son of Dominie and Nancy Pinkard McNeill. Afforded limited educational advantages as a youth, young Stanfield worked at farming until reaching age sixteen, whereafter he learned the trade of carpentry, being engaged in that work for six years time. Having relocated to Burlington, Iowa at age sixteen, he joined in the ongoing war effort, enlisting for service in the Mexican-American War in 1849. McNeill served amongst "Capt. Morgan's company of mounted dragoons", after which he returned to civilian life and worked as a clerk in a cotton warehouse.
   Stanfield McNeill relocated to Wayne County, Iowa in 1857. He remained here for three years, during which time he purchased a farm and married on February 16, 1859 to Nancy Long Arnold (1837-1887). The couple would have a total of nine children:  Grace (1859-1929), Kate, Guy A. (1863-1891), Edward, Anna, Stanfield (1871-1875), Mary, Norah (born 1876) and Ruth. 
   In 1861 McNeill and his family removed to the neighboring county of Decatur. During his residency here (which extended until his death in 1902), McNeill operated a farm, and was the owner of nearly 800 acres of land. He would serve as a justice of the peace for a time and was a member of the county board of Supervisors during the Civil War. In November 1873 he won election to the Iowa General Assembly as a representative from Decatur County. Taking his seat at the start of the 1874-76 term, he would serve on the house committees on Schools, Penitentiaries and the Agricultural College during this session, and in November 1875 won a second term in the state house.
    McNeill's second term saw him serve on the committees on Enrolled Bills, Appropriations and the Agricultural College. Following the conclusion of his term in January 1878 he returned to farming, and resided in Garden City, Iowa until his death on February 20, 1902, six days after his 75th birthday. Shortly after his passing McNeill was memorialized in a lengthy Iowa legislative resolution, which noted that:
"The radiance of his life will leave its light to illuminate the pathway of time as the shooting meteors illuminate the heavens. That lamp of light which grows brighter as it nears the shores of eternity and when lost to earthly view beyond the shore of that silent river, will shine with radiant splendor as one of the brightest gems in that New Jerusalem where the melody of heavenly music shall fill the earthly weary soul with eternal bliss."
   One should take note that the above legislative resolution misspells McNeill's first name as "Sanford" (one can only wonder what his fellow legislators thought of that!) Widowed in 1887, both Stanfield and his wife were interred at the Garden Grove Cemetery, also the resting place of their son Stanfield, who died in 1875 at age four.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lavius Arad Robinson (1834-1917)

From the Norwich Bulletin, June 27, 1913

   Born into a prominent Connecticut family, Lavius Arad Robinson had fleeting involvement in Nutmeg State political life, being a Republican candidate for the Connecticut State Assembly in 1894. Like fellow Connecticut native Perlin Shearer Butler (profiled earlier this month), Robinson was a longtime churchman in his native town, serving as a deacon in the Franklin Congregational church. 
  Born in Franklin on October 6, 1834, Lavius A. Robinson was one of several children born to Arad and Lura Abell Robinson. One of Franklin's most venerated families, Arad Robinson was a descendant of the Rev. John Robinson, the " Pastor of the Pilgrims" who ministered at Leiden, Holland from 1609-1625. 35 members of Robinson's congregation later joined with sixty-six Pilgrims from England to sail to America on the Mayflower, reaching Massachusetts in November of 1620. The Rev. John Robinson (having died in Holland in 1625) later had descendants residing throughout New England, one of which, Arad Robinson, was of the seventh generation of his descendants.
  Young Lavius resided upon the Robinson family farm on "Prospect Hill" in Franklin and studied in the "district schools" until reaching age eighteen. Lavius would later take over the day to day operations of the family homestead and:
"Added to the original farm and owns ninety acres of most excellent land, and he has also made extensive improvements upon the property, which he devotes to general farming and dairying."
  Lavius Robinson married his first wife Lovisa Brewster in 1858, but their marriage lasted just seven years before her death in 1865 at age twenty-four. Robinson remarried in 1867 to Mary Avery, with whom he had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who died in infancy in May 1870. Mary Avery died shortly after her daughter's birth on May 20, 1870 and two years following Lavius married for the third time, taking as his bride Hattie Huntington of Eastford, Connecticut. The couple would be married for over forty years, during which time four sons were born: Nelson Eugene (1875-1894), Clifford Huntington (1879-1959), Arthur Day (died in infancy in 1882) and Lloyd Raymond (born 1883).
   A deacon in the Franklin Congregational Church for many years, Robinson also served as chairman of the church's Ecclesiastical Society. Mentioned as a "staunch Republican", Robinson held the office of Justice of Peace for Franklin and in 1894 was a candidate for the Connecticut General Assembly from New London County. As one of three candidates running to represent Franklin in the assembly, Robinson placed second on election day, receiving 50 votes compared to winning candidate Clayton Lathrop's total of 58. 

An electoral result from the Connecticut State Register and Manual, 1895-96.

   Following his legislative loss Lavius Robinson continued to reside at his family's ancestral home in Franklin, dying there on July 24, 1917 at age 82. His wife Hattie survived him by seventeen years, dying in November 1934, also at age 82. Both were interred at the Pautipaug Cemetery in Franklin, Connecticut.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cadmus Ambrose Tope (1863-1940)

Portrait from the Carrollton Free Press Standard, January 4, 1940.

   A Carrollton, Ohio based hardware merchant for over forty years, Cadmus Ambrose Tope had fleeting involvement in political life in 1908 and 1916 when he was selected as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention held in Chicago. A lifelong Ohio resident, Cadmus Ambrose "Cady" Tope was born in Harrison County on June 8, 1863, being the son of Hiram and Mary Anne Shultz Tope.  He removed to Carroll County at an early age and would attend both the "public schools at Perrysville" and the Harlem Springs College, a Methodist Episcopal Church seminary. 
  For ten years Cadmus Tope taught public school in Carroll County and later was elected to two terms as Carroll County Recorder. Tope married on New Year's Day 1885 to Ella Beamer (1859-1938), their union producing two daughters, Mary Ethel (1887-1964) and Sarah Leona (1892-1969). In 1894 he made his first foray into the hardware trade, establishing a store in Dellroy, Ohio. Two years later he moved his business to Carrollton, subsequently partnering in the hardware firm of Campbell, Tope and Beamer.
   Tope continued to be involved in the hardware business in Carrollton for the remainder of his life, becoming the sole owner of the aforementioned business in 1918. Tope is noted by the History of Carroll and Harrison Counties as running a:
"Prosperous business....supplied with a complete stock of heavy and shelf hardware, and the various accessories that go to make up the modern hardware store."
  In addition to hardware sales Cadmus Tope was for many years a prominent figure in the Carroll County Agricultural Society, serving as its secretary for two decades. Tope is also recorded as having been a show horse judge, visiting (in addition to Ohio) Indiana and Illinois to judge horses at county fairs. A longstanding member of the Republican Party, Tope was named as an alternate delegate to the 1908 Republican National Convention held in Chicago that nominated William Howard Taft for the Presidency. In 1916 Tope again served as an alternate delegate to the RNC, this time seeing Charles Evans Hughes put up as the party's standard bearer.
  In the years following his service as a delegate Tope continued to experience success in the hardware business, being elected as President of the Ohio Hardware Association for a one year term in 1923. He would also be affiliated with the Hardware Mutual Insurance Company of Coschocton and the Carrollton Methodist Church. Cadmus Tope died in Carrollton on New Years Day 1940, having been ill for over a year. He was interred alongside his wife Ella at the Grandview Cemetery in Carrollton, coincidentally enough the same resting place of Union Corwin DeFord, a former Carrollton mayor and judge profiled here back in June 2012.

Cadmus and Ella Tope, portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wakefield Gale Frye (1826-1893)

Portrait from the History of the City of Belfast in the State of Maine, Vol. II, 1913.

    A return to Maine today to examine the life and career of Wakefield Gale Frye, an attorney in both Rockland and Belfast who was appointed to the post of U.S. Consul General in Halifax, Nova Scotia on two non-consecutive occasions. Born in Montville, Maine on December 20, 1826, Wakefield G. Frye was one of eight children born to Robie (1785-1867) and Lucy Holbrook Frye (1783-1852). Wakefield would attend the China Academy in Colby, Maine from 1847-1850 and went on to study at the University of Rochester in New York, earning his A.B. degree in 1851. 
   Around 1853 Frye relocated to Rockville, Maine, where he would practice law for two years. In 1855 he entered into the post of police court justice for Rockland, serving a one year term. In October of that year Frye married to Annie Elizabeth Arey, with whom he would have four children, Robie Gale, Jessie Frye Osborne (1871-1951), Gertrude H., and Henry Wakefield, who died in Folsom, New Mexico in 1895.
   From 1857-1858 Wakefield Frye briefly practiced law in Lafayette, Indiana, and by 1858 had returned to Maine, opening a law practice in the city Belfast. After three years of practice in Belfast Frye took on the position of deputy collector of customs, where he served until 1872. After leaving that post Frye was named as clerk of the Waldo County Superior Court, where he remained until his resignation in 1879. For the following three years he resumed his law practice in Belfast and in February 1882 achieved his highest degree of public prominence when he was nominated by President Chester Arthur as the new U.S. Consul General in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

   Shortly after being confirmed as consul Frye headed for Halifax, where he remained until 1885, having tendered his resignation in May of that year. In a curious newspaper write-up in the St. Paul Globe on Frye's resignation, many merchants in Halifax were dismayed as to the thought of Frye leaving the post of consul, many of whom believed that his "action was not entirely voluntary".  As the Globe related in its May 23, 1885 edition,  a: 
"Great bundle of petitions had been forward to the President, asking that Mr. Frye be continued in office, and representing the desirability of his service in protecting and fostering the commercial relations between Nova Scotia and the United States."
  After leaving the post of consul Frye engaged in business in Boston, as well as returning to the practice of law, taking as a partner one Bordman Hall, a member of the Boston Board of Aldermen (and later a candidate for state auditor.) In 1889 the citizens of Halifax got their wish, as Wakefield Frye was once again appointed as U.S. Consul in Halifax. His second term as consul extended until his death in office on August 14, 1893 at age 66. Frye's remains were returned to the United States for burial at the Grove Cemetery in Belfast, Maine. Frye's widow Annie was also interred here following her death in 1905.