Friday, March 31, 2017

County government personified, 1898 version

I'm a little ashamed of the quality of this image, but was due elsewhere and in too much of a hurry yesterday to deal adequately with a photo nailed securely into a vintage frame and sealed behind reflective glass. The original is in beautiful condition, despite how it looks here. Maybe I'll try again and replace it later.

On the other hand, I spent so much time trying to identify those pictured --- no time to come up with anything deep, insightful and full of meaning this morning.

This is Lucas County's government personified as photographed some time during 1898 and came to the historical society years ago after it had been found in storage in the courthouse. It's not dated and only partially identified.

The three county supervisors are seated to the left in the front row, from left: Thomas Stuart Crozier, who farmed just east of Russell; Peter Van Deveer Van Arsdale, whose farm was at the southeast city limits of Chariton; and George Luckey Ashby, of Norwood. George had just been elected to the board, replacing Thomas Gay, the previous November --- one of the ways the photo can be dated.

In the second row, from left, are Philander Peden Sheller, deputy clerk of courts; William Edward Allen, county auditor; Maggie L. Taylor, deputy auditor; Zora McMains, county recorder; and Henley Gregg Curtis, deputy county treasurer. Zora had just been appointed during late December 1897 to fill out the remaining year of her late father's, Alfred McMains', term as treasurer. She went on during November of 1898 to win a full term in her own right.

John Clarkson Seward, clerk of courts, is at far left in the back row, followed by Warren S. Dungan, county attorney; Charles Fitzgerald Goltry, county superintendent of schools; an unidentified young man who probably was deputy something or another; Sheriff Eli Manning; and James W. Culbertson, county treasurer.

Dungan did not seek re-election in the fall of 1898, another way to date the photograph. 

Both Sheller and Curtis had previously served several elective terms, Sheller as auditor and Curtis, as treasurer. Both were kept on board as deputies in various offices until they died, Sheller in 1902 and Curtis, in 1904. When Curtis passed, the courthouse sent to his funeral a widely admired floral tribute in the shape of an anchor.

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