E. J. Dallas To Rest In Arlington Grave
Evening Star, Sep. 28, 1910
“Distinguished Career as Soldier and in Government Service in Washington
The funeral of Everett J. Dallas, for the last ten years a member of the board of pension appeals, who died Saturday evening at his apartment in the Baltimore, 1832 Baltimore street, will be held at Arlington tomorrow afternoon at 4 o’clock.
The pallbearers will be Senator Charles Curtis, of Kansas; Justice Thomas H. Anderson, of the Supreme Court of the District; Col. Harrison L. Bruce, chairman of the board of pension appeals; Charles N. Daizel, chief clerk of the dead letter office; James E. Tufts, Dr. Dorsey M. McPherson, John W. Bixter, and Lee T. Robinson.
Mr. Dallas was born in Ohio, December 27, 1841, and removed to Kansas in 1859, with his father, Dr. L.J. Dallas, one of the pioneers of that state. A year later he returned to Ohio, and, in July, 1861, enlisted in the 12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving until his discharge in 1864.
Later, coming to Washington, he entered the service of the Post Office Department. After a series of promotions he became superintendent of the dead letter office.
It was under his administration of that office that the first “Dallas Directory” was issued in 1881. It was alphabetical directory of all the streets in more than one hundred of the principal cities of the United States, complied for the use of the department returning misdirected letters and parcels.
In 1885 Mr. Dallas resigned his office and returned to his adopted state of Kansas as junior partner in the law firm of Rossington, Smith, & Dallas, at Topeka, remaining with that firm for fifteen years. He then came back to Washington and re-entered the public service as a member of the board of pension appeals, in which he continued until his death.
His widow and three children survive him.”
Everett Jerome Dallas was born on the 27th of December, 1843 to Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas and Nancy Beeks Hood Dallas. (Note that the year of his birth was printed incorrectly in his obituary.) Everett was the second of seven children. The family lived in Ohio, but it is unclear as to whether they lived in Guernsey county or Belmont county at the time of Everett’s birth. In 1850, Everett was seven years old. His family was living in Kirkwood, Ohio where his father was a doctor and a farmer.
By the time Everett was seventeen, in 1860, the Dallas family had moved to the Baldwin City area of Douglas county, Kansas.
On June 28th, 1861, Private Everett Jerome Dallas reported for duty at Camp Dennison, Ohio with the 12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company E. I have not been able to find much about his particular service, but I do know that his regiment fought in many civil war battles. In three years, they lost five officers and one hundred and seventy men to both the war itself and to disease. The company mustered out on July 11th, 1864 at Columbus, Ohio. Years later, after his death, records show his widow receiving Everett’s veteran pension payment. The record has him listed as an “Army Invalid.”
By 1870, Everett is living in Washington D.C. in the household of his uncle, Thomas B. Hood. Everett is now working as a clerk in the United States Post Office.
On the 18th of June, 1872, Everett married Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Campbell in Washington D.C.
Just a little over a year later, Everett graduated from Georgetown College with his law degree.
From the Daily National Republican, Washington D.C., Jun 05. 1873
“Twenty New Lawyers – Georgetown College Commencement
Brilliant Assemblage of Lady and Gentlemen Friends of the Graduates – Address of Attorney General Williams – Introductory Remarks by Hon. J. C. Banecroft Davis – Beautiful Floral Display – Father Healy’s Parting Advice.
A large and brilliant assemblage was gathered last night in Lincoln Hall to witness the interesting exercises of the annual commencement of the law department of the University of Georgetown, class of 1873. On the platform were seated several distinguished gentlemen of the learned professions, besides the graduating class, and among those who occupied seats in the auditorium were General Sherman and other prominent officials.”
The article continues, recounting all aspects of the commencement ceremony, including listing the graduates. Our own Everett J. Dallas, Kansas is listed among them.
In November of 1873, Everett and Lizzie welcomed their first child, Mary.
On January 23rd of 1875, the Evening Star reported a promotion for Mr. Dallas.
“MR. EVERETT J. DALLAS has been appointed chief of the dead letter office, vice Knowlton, promoted chief clerk.”
The couple’s second child, Everett Hood Dallas was born on December 5th, 1877. Their third and last child wasn’t born until seven years later. John Campbell Dallas arrived on the 15th of January in 1884.
Suddenly, Everett resigns from the post office.
Daily National Republican, dated April 01, 1885:
“The “resignation” of Everett J. Dallas as chief of the dead letter office was quite a surprise. The resignation takes effect to-day, and no one had been appointed to fill the place late yesterday afternoon. Mr. Dallas has been chief of the dead letter office twenty-seven years, and his resignation was unexpected. It is probable that Mr. Baird, of Georgia, will be appointed to the vacancy.”
Now, Everett was NOT chief of the dead letter office for twenty-seven years as the article states. That would have made him 15 years old when he took over. No, he was chief for ten years. The quotes around the word resignation seem to hint at something a little more then him simply leaving his job.
In the years between Everett’s appointment to the dead letter office and his resignation, he was very busy, at work at least. In his obituary, you may remember that something called the “Dallas Street Directory” was mentioned. It took a lot of research to find this, because when you are searching for Dallas, everything Texas comes up. Finally, I had success when I came upon a very lengthy article published in the Barton County Democrat newspaper in Great Bend, Kansas from September 3rd, 1891. This article is titled “A Work Compiled for the Benefit of Careless People.” It’s a quite interesting article, but very long, so I am just going to hit the highlights here for you. In the beginning, it talks about how a new civil law is in the works so that dismissals would only be for cause and not because of partisan reasons or the whim of a superior officer with a bee under his bonnet. It then begins to talk about Everett and his work while at the Post Office.
“For about fifteen years previous to his departure from the public service Everett J. Dallas had been an employee of the post office department, during the latter part of his term being chief of the dead letter office. He was removed for political reasons in 1885, and now is practicing law somewhere in Kansas. He had been so long in the public service that he seemed to be a part of it, and it of him. All of his splendid abilities were directed to the improvement of the work of which he had charge and for which he was responsible. As chief of the dead letter office he was daily absorbed in the solution of the problem of how to devise adequate means to aid those tens of thousands of careless people in the country who are trying and failing to reach their friends through the mail; and that they need assistance is manifest from the fact that hundreds of thousands of letters, postal cards, packages, newspapers, and merchandise annually go to the dead letter office by reason of their misdirection or partial and imperfect direction………
For this class of careless people Chief Clerk Dallas, who was devoted to his work, compiled a volume which is of incalculable value to the government and to tens of thousands of careless people all over the country. He conceived the idea of compiling, in alphabetical form, a list of all the streets, courts, avenues, places, lanes, roads and wharves to which mail is delivered in all the principal cities of the republic. After giving the matter considerable attention and reaching the conclusion that it was feasible and ought to be done, Mr. Dallas consulted with several official superiors and was informed by them that the work could not be undertaken and completed in a lifetime, and that it would cost too much money. That was the last that was heard of the subject for about two years. Then the quiet, unpretentious, plodding official astounded his superiors by exhibiting to them a mass of manuscript which practically covered the ground, as originally proposed by him. He had given to that work his days and nights, his energies and ambition…..
In 1884 the manuscript was given to the public printer, and came forth a volume which to-day is regarded as a sine qua non in the dead letter office. It contained 437 pages, but has since been improved and added to until it is now a volume of over 800 pages, every line of which represents work of the most painstaking character by the brains of an intelligent official pioneer.
Here is a sample of the work accomplished daily with the aid of this compilation: A letter addressed to “Mr. Henry Manchester, No. 126 Charter Oak Avenue”. Where is Charter Oak Avenue? The postmaster sends it to the dead letter office, the clerk turns to the Dallas Street Directory, finds under the letter “C” that there is only one Charter Oak Avenue in the country, and that it is in Hartford, Conn. The clerk then adds the city and state….
These instances are sufficient to demonstrate to the reader the great value of the Dallas Directory….
Since his dismissal from the public service which he so adored and benefited, there have been four successors to Mr. Dallas, all of them reputable gentleman…but they have come and gone….The services of Mr. Dallas could not to-day be secured for many times the salary, $2,000, which he then received; and, for which he was willing to remain.”
I cannot imagine the hours and hours of work that he must have put in to this invaluable directory. One the age of the internet came, the directory was no longer needed, but it was used for a hundred years or more.
We know that after Everett was dismissed from the postal service, he went back to Topeka, Kansas to practice law. He joined the firm of Rossington & Smith, making it Rossington, Smith, & Dallas. I don’t know much about this time of his life, but have found him as an active member of the Kansas State Historical Society and an organization called Associated Charities, which provided emergency help for people in need.
In 1900, Everett went back to Washington D.C., accepting an appointment to the Pension board.
I’m not sure what happened between Lizzie and Everett, but they must have divorced at some point. On May 14th, 1904 Everett married a woman by the name of Mary O. Gittings. He was 61 years old and she was 49.
Everett passed away on September 24th, 1910 in Washington D.C. from Bright’s Disease, a chronic kidney disease, and the same disease that killed his father. Everett was 66 years old. His second wife, Mary, is buried with Everett in Arlington Cemetery.
Everett is my 3rd great-uncle.