Hon. Major C. Mead, well known as a representative of the legal fraternity in Sheboygan county, has been actively engaged in the practice of law at Plymouth for more than three decades. He has also been prominent in political circles here as an active worker in democratic ranks and did important service as a member of the state senate from 1888 until 1892.
His birth occurred in Lyndon township, this county, on the 26th of June, 1858, his parents being Abel and Permelia (Peck) Mead. Abel Mead was born in Putnam county, New York, on the 6th of April, 1836, a representative of a family that dates back to the old days in England. His parents were Major and Betsey (Robinson) Mead, who had four sons and three daughters. Major Mead was born in New York on the 27th of August, 1810,and in 1849, having determined to establish his home in Wisconsin, left Poughkeepsie with his family. They proceeded to Albany by boat, thence by canal to Buffalo and by lake steamer to this state.
Major Mead located on rented land but at the end of six months acquired a partially improved tract of one hundred and sixty acres, purchasing the property for three hundred dollars from the Indians who were camped in the vicinity. A log cabin stood on the place and therein he took up his abode. As an Indian cemetery occupied the place where he wished to erect his buildings, he found it necessary first to remove many of the bodies.
As the years passed and his financial resources increased, owing to his untiring industry and able management, he augmented his holdings by additional purchase until they embraced five hundred and seventy acres of land in Lyndon township, this county. He cast his first presidential vote for Henry Clay and remained a whig until the organization of the republican party. Both he and his wife were prominent members of the Baptist church and took an active and helpful interest in its work. Mrs. Betsey (Robinson) Mead was born in New York on the 23rd of May, 1811, and passed away in 1904. Her father, Peter Robinson, participated in the Revolutionary war and well remembered Benedict Arnold, the traitor.
Mrs. Permelia (Peck) Mead, the mother of our subject, is a representative of a family that can be traced back to 1630, when three brothers came from England and settled in Connecticut. From them are descended Bishop Peck and General George Peck. Mrs. Permelia Mead was born in Rensselaer county, New York, on the 3rd of December, 1834, being the seventh in order of birth in a family of seven sons and five daughters, born unto Ranford and Permelia (Thorn) Peck. Ranford Peck served as a drummer boy in the War of 1812. His daughter Permelia obtained her early education in the schools of Sheboygan and subsequently attended Berea College of Berea, Ohio. She then followed the profession of teaching until the time of her marriage, becoming the wife of Abel Mead on the 9th of December, 1854. Unto them were born two children, namely: Elizabeth, who died at the age of twenty-two years; and Major C., of this review. Abel Mead, the father, passed away on the 2nd of October, 1800.
Major C. Mead, whose name introduces this review, was reared on his father's farm in this county and obtained his education in the public schools. Subsequently he taught school in the country for a time and later served as principal of one of the ward schools of Sheboygan. He next entered the Plymouth high school and was graduated from that institution with the class of 1879. The following fall he entered the law department of the University of Wisconsin, which institution conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor of Laws of 1881.
He was married in June of that year and soon afterward took up his abode in Wausau, Marathon county, Wisconsin, where he followed his profession for a short time. In the fall of 1881 he returned to Sheboygan county and established his home in Plymouth, where he has been engaged in the active practice of law to the present time. His success in a professional way affords the best evidence of his capabilities in this line. He is a strong advocate with the jury and concise in his appeals before the court.
Much of the success which has attended him in his professional career is undoubtedly due to the fact that in no instance will he permit himself to go into court with a case unless he has absolute confidence in the justice of his client's cause. Basing his efforts on this principle, from which there are far too many lapses in professional ranks, it naturally follows that he seldom loses a case in whose support he is enlisted.
On the 29th of June, 1881, in Lyndon township, Mr. Mead was united in marriage to Miss Rose Robinson, who was born in the town of Scott, Sheboygan county, her parents being Elisha and Anna M. Robinson, early settlers of this county. Elisha Robinson was a soldier of the Civil war and gave his life in defense of the Union, his death occurring in the hospital at Helena, Arkansas. Mr. and Mrs. Mead have three children. Warren Judson Mead, who was born on the 5th of August, 1883, and was graduated from the University of Wisconsin with the class of 1900, is now assistant professor of geology in that institution. On the 17th of June, 1910, he wedded Miss Bertha Taylor. Arlisle M., whose birth occurred on the 8th of June, 1886, and who was graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1907, has taught school for several years and is at the present time acting as assistant in the high school at Berlin, this state. Jessie, born September 5, 1888, is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, completing a course in the department of music in 1910. For one year she has been supervisor of music and drawing in the schools of Plymouth.
In politics Mr. Mead has always been a democrat, casting his first presidential vote for General Hancock in 1880. As a leading factor in the local ranks of that party he has held many positions of trust and responsibility. For a period of twenty years he served as city attorney in Plymouth. In the fall of 1888 he was elected to the state senate, remaining an able working member of that body until January, 1892. He was appointed on the most important committees of the senate, including those on judiciary and on railroads, and acted as chairman of the joint committee on charitable and penal institutions. He was the author of a bill abolishing the state board of charities and reform and the state board of supervision and creating the new state board of control. He also introduced a number of other important measures, including one which provides for the destruction of ballots after the same are counted. Mr. Mead was elected a delegate to the democratic national convention at Chicago, Illinois, in 1896 and was selected as honorary vice president from Wisconsin. He was sent as a delegate to the national democratic convention at Indianapolis in the same year, nominating Senator Palmer for president. In 1902 he was appointed by Governor La Follette as a member of the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin, holding that position for six years, and was president of the board two years.
Fraternally Mr. Mead is identified with the Masons, belonging to Acassia Lodge, No. 167, F. & A. M., of Plymouth; Harmony Chapter, No. 10, R. A. M., of Sheboygan; Sheboygan commandery, No.32, and Loyalty Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star at Plymouth. His wife has taken an active and prominent part in the affairs of the Eastern Star. She was elected worthy matron of Loyalty Chapter at Plymouth in 1903 and the following year was called to serve the grand chapter of Wisconsin as Esther. She was elected associate grand conductress in 1907, grand conductress in 1908, associate grand matron in 1909 and grand matron in 1910. As grand matron she represented the grand jurisdiction of Wisconsin at the session of the general grand chapter at Jacksonville, Florida. Both she and her husband are well entitled to distinction among the best known and leading residents of their native county. At this point it would be almost tautological to enter into any series of statements as showing the Hon. Major C. Mead to be a man of broad intelligence and genuine public spirit, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. Strong in his individuality, he never lacks the courage of his convictions but there are as dominating elements in this individuality, a lively human sympathy and an abiding charity, which, as taken in connection with the sterling integrity and honor of his character, have naturally gained to him the respect and confidence of men.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL