Search continues for a missing mayor’s photos

By Regina Villiers.  Originally published April 15, 1998 in The Suburban Life, added April 7, 2017.

This photo of Samuel Kitchell Druce, Madeira’s first mayor, hangs in the Mayor’s Room at Madeira City Hall.

Madeira Police Chief Gerald Beckman is still trying to solve a tough case.  He’s chasing after 10 missing Madeira mayors, and the case has proved to be difficult for the chief to crack.

You may recall that Chief Beckman came up with the idea of turning a conference room off the council chambers in Madeira City Hall into a Mayor’s Room.  On the walls would be hung large photographs of all the former mayors.

Sounds like a great idea.  And it was.  The only problem has been finding pictures of all the former mayors.

Including the current mayor, Michelle Glass Schneider, Madeira has had 27 mayors.

Mayors from the modern-day era were easy to find.  Because people tend to settle in Madeira and live here forever, all living former mayors still live here, with one exception.  Mary Ann Cristie moved away, but former mayors like Dan McDonald and Forest Atkins, probable are rooted here forever.

Madeira was incorporated in 1910, and the first council meeting was on Aug. 10, 1910.  Samuel Kitchell Druce was the first mayor.

A political flyer, dated 1910, and titled “To All the Citizens of Madeira,” reads:

“On July 12th, there was a public meeting of the citizens of Madeira, at the public school house, to nominate a ticket for village officers.”

“For Mayor S.K. Druce, Mr. Druce is one of our oldest citizens, having lived here practically all his life.  He believes in our town and has worked for its welfare.  To him, more than anyone else, is due the presence of our traction line.  It is also due to his unceasing labor that our village is incorporated and has a place on the map.”

“His sole interest, if elected mayor, would be for the beautifying and development of Madeira.  He resides on Euclid Avenue and has an equal interest in all parts of our village, and would have no ax to grind.”

The people obviously believed the flyer, because Mr. Druce was elected and served from 1910-1913.

Samuel Kitchell Druce had tried to volunteer for service in the Civil War, but he was rejected because he had active tuberculosis.  At that time, a tuberculosis diagnosis usually meant a death sentence.

But Samuel Druce would not accept that fate.  He went West to clear his lungs. He traveled by wagon train to the Nebraska Territory, where he lived for a time.  Outdoor life in the clean, dry air cleared his lungs and cured his illness.

He moved back to Madeira and married Sarah Dones.  They settled down on Euclid Avenue to raise their family.

He lived to 73 and died of pneumonia.

His granddaughter, Drucilla Bain, still lives in Madeira.  She has a long letter, written in her grandfather’s handwriting, telling about his trip out West and relating some of his adventures there.

The Mayors’ Room looks impressive, but it would look more impressive if Chief Beckman could find more of the missing photos.

The 10 former mayors he has been unable to locate are:

John Hudson, 1914-20

J.A. Hosbrook, 1920-23

George Bauer, 1924-25

Charles Cochran, 1926-27

Joseph Hinson, 1928-29

W.P. Black, 1930 (died in office)

C.E. Denman, 1934-35

Frank Horton, 1936-37

John Hoffman, 1940-41

George F. Kirkwood, 1944-47

If you would search through albums and boxes of old pictures, you just might have a picture of one of these people.

It wouldn’t have to be a solo shot either.  A picture of one of these men in a group shot could be lifted and copied.  Froe instance, a photo of H.E. Hoes, 1930, already hanging on the Mayors’ Wall, was taken from a group shot.  It turned out well.

You wouldn’t even have to let the photo out of your possession.  I have a lens capable of copying photos.  There would be no possibility of loss.

Because photos of these former mayors are missing, most of the stories about them are missing, too.  I would be interested in any recollections you might have of them.

For instance, I’ve tried for a long time to learn about George Bauer, 1924-25, who also owned a department store in Madeira.  Not only have I not found a photo of the store or of Mr. Bauer, but also even memories of the store are hard to find.

So, look through your old pictures and remember back when.  Maybe you can help with this case.  Both Chief Beckman and I would be happy for clues.

You can call Chief Gerald Beckman at 272-4214, or you can call the newspaper at 248-8600 and leave a message for me.

This caper we’d like to solve.


Samuel Druce, after living in the Nebraska Territory to regain his health, returned to marry Sarah Dones and to become Madeira’s first mayor.