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 • Caro
 • Tuscola County
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Theron Wilson Atwood, Sr
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Birth: Jan. 3, 1854
White Oak
Ingham County
Michigan, USA
Death: Sep. 27, 1917
Caro
Tuscola County
Michigan, USA

Obituary:

T.W. ATWOOD ANSWERS LAST CALL
WAS ONCE A GREAT POLITICAL POWER IN MICHIGAN.
Death Came Thursday Night Caused by Complications That Followed Appendicitis.

Theron W. Atwood, well known in county and state political circles, died at his home in Caro Thursday night [September 27, 1917] of appendicitis, followed by pneumonia.

Funeral services were held at the Atwood home and were largely attended. Governor A. E. Sleeper and many men prominent in district and state political circles were present. Mr. Atwood is survived by his widow and eight children: His sons and sons-in-law acted as pallbearers at the funeral.

The Detroit Journal of Sept. 28 contained the following sketch of Mr. Atwood:

Theron W. Atwood was born in White Oak, in the same county, Ingham, in which Lansing is situated, Jan. 3, 1854. His father, H. P. Atwood, moved to Tuscola County just before the Civil War. Though Theron W. Atwood became a college man, a lawyer, a foremost politician and was mentioned for high offices, he never lost interest in farm life and farm work. He always owned a farm, always raised crops and sheep and always enjoyed discussing agricultural problems.

Young Atwood received his first education in the county schools of Tuscola. He went to the university and was graduated from the law department in 1875.

He practiced for 11 years before he consented to run for any office. His interest in politics was always more an interest in the mechanism and strategy of party victory than in the mere tenure of official position. Yet he served two terms as prosecuting attorney and then in 1898 consented to run for the state senate.

In the state senate he soon arose to prominence. He became one of the strong opponents of Pingree known as the "Immortal Nineteen". While he became a senate leader because of his sagacity and his capacity for impressing his choice on others, he was also becoming more and more influential in general state politics. During the administration of Gov. Aaron T. Bliss his political influence arose to great heights, and was compared to the gigantic power exercised by Zachariah Chandler in the seventies.

He was appointed railroad commissioner by Gov. Bliss in 1903. At this time the railroads were growing into a lively political issue. In the fight for the Republican governorship nomination in 1904, which ended in the nomination of Fred M. Warner, Mr. Atwood's prestage reached its climax.

Mr. Warner was elected governor despite the brilliant campaign made by Woodbridge N. Ferris. That year Mr. Atwood was able to announce that only five Democratic local candidates had been elected in the entire state. The state officers were Republican. The legislature was all Republican in house and senate.

Gov. Warner reappointed Mr. Atwood railroad commissioner. Though there were signs early in Mr. Warner's administration of a struggle for party leadership between Mr. Atwood and the governor, there was no open break until after Mr. Warner's reelection in 1906. When the legislature of 1907 was about to convene, with the problem of electing a United States senator, Mr. Atwood championed the cause of Arthur Hill, of Saginaw. Mr. Warner issued a statement against Hill. By a fusion of different forces William Alden Smith, who had more pledged votes than any of the other candidates, was elected.

Mr. Atwood served out his term as railroad commissioner. He was still regarded as a political force. In the fall of 1907 he ran for delegate to the constitutional convention in his senatorial district and was elected. This was his last public office.

After the expiration of Mr. Atwood's term office as commissioner of railroads and, in fact, before that time, Mr. Atwood, with his son, N. B. Atwood, began the construction of the M. U. T. electric line from Lansing to Jackson and Owosso. The line was completed in 1912, having been delayed in construction by litigation. A few years ago Mr. Atwood sold his holdings and the name was changed to the M. U. R., under which title it is now operated.

He kept up his interest in politics. In 1908 he supported Dr. Bradley, of Eaton, against Warner, who was running for a third term. In 1910 he supported Chase S. Osborn in his successful primary battle against Patrick H. Kelley. In the last gubernatorial primary he was from first to last a supporter of Albert E. Sleeper. He was a conservative in his political doctrine. He believed firmly in parties and was opposed to direct nominations. He was regarded as a leader largely because of his astute judgment of the relative political strengths of different individuals. This made it a time of crisis in any political convention when his "threw his strength" to this or that candidate.

He was of quietly affable demeanor, but very silent with strangers. This was more remarkable because when one became acquainted with him the silent man proved himself an extraordinarily interesting conversationalist. He was a man who was held in the highest personal esteem for his qualities as a neighbor and a man, in his personal and family life.

(Cass City Chronicle, October 5, 1917, pages 1 & 8.)
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Henry Purinton Atwood (1822 - 1897)
  Emily Wilson Atwood (1831 - 1889)
 
 Spouse:
  Clara Ellen Gibbs Atwood (1857 - 1918)*
 
 Children:
  Newton Blain Atwood (1876 - 1934)*
  Alice A. Atwood Boergert (1879 - 1962)*
  Merrill C. Atwood (1881 - 1939)*
  Florence C. Atwood Myers (1889 - 1970)*
  Frank Ellett Atwood (1898 - 1971)*
 
 Sibling:
  Theron Wilson Atwood (1854 - 1917)
  Ida Atwood (1857 - 1867)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Indian Fields Township Cemetery
Caro
Tuscola County
Michigan, USA
 
Maintained by: Joann Geybels
Originally Created by: Amy
Record added: Jan 08, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 63902278
Theron Wilson Atwood, Sr
Added by: Tom Nichols
 
Theron Wilson Atwood, Sr
Added by: The Last Ride
 
Theron Wilson Atwood, Sr
Added by: Joann Geybels
 
 
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