Bert Travis: An Example of the Local Prohibitionist

Throughout its long history the Prohibition Party has drawn much of its strength from its local activists: everyday people who joined the party and spent some of their time working to advance the party and its cause. Oftentimes, the lives and contributions of these people have had little recording and have been little note in historical accounts.

In his article, we’ll look at one of the local prohibitionists who helped contribute to the Prohibition Party in New York; a man by the name of Bert Travis. Bert Travis as listed by the 1906 Prohibition Party handbook for the State of New York as a member of the Allegany County committee of the Prohibition Party. He represented the town of Angelica on the county committee in 1906. While it is likely that his involvement with the party was more extensive than just serving on the county committee in 1906, that is the only concrete information currently available on his involvement with the party.

Though there is further information on his life overall.

Bert Travis was born on March 28th, 1869. The same year that the Prohibition Party was founded. He was born on the town of Birdsall, in Allegany County, New York, and was the youngest of 3 children. His mother died when he was 10 months old, and he was raised by the family of David Abbey. Sometime between 1887 and 1889, he married Lena Keiser. Lena Keiser had been born in Germany in 1869. In 1872, her family immigrated to the United States, and she grew up in the town of Allen, Allegany County, New York. The couple would go on to have 5 children.

In 1889, his first son Edward was born. In 1894, his daughter Ethel was born. By 1900, Travis was living in the town of Angelica. In 1902 or 1904, his second son Alvin was born. In 1908, his third son Leonard was born. By 1910, Travis was living in the town of Allen.

In 1900, Travis worked as a blacksmith. It’s not known how long he worked as a blacksmith. But, by 1930, he was working as a farmer. It is known that in 1910, he had two men who worked for him and lived in his household. His older brother Elmer owned a sawmill in Angelica, until it burned down in 1924.

In 1915, Travis was still living in Allen. In 1919, he was injured in a car accident in Belmont, Allegany County, New York. By 1925, he was living Birdsall. By 1930, he and his wife had returned to Angelica. Bert Travis died on January 12th, 1932.
Sources: “60,000 Sawmill Fire in Angelica”. The Buffalo Commercial. (Buffalo, New York). August 7, 1924. Accessed, January 29, 2019. https://www.newspapers.com/image/313397695/?terms=bert%2Btravis%2Bangelica

"ANGELICA COLLECTANEA & OBITUARIES Compiled by L. L. Stillwell And Allegany County Newspapers Extractions and Additions by Gerrie Raw Contributed by Gerrie RawS-T." Angelica Collectanea Obits - S-T. Accessed January 29, 2019. http://allegany.nygenweb.net/angelicacolls.html.

"Bert D Travis United States Census, 1910." FamilySearch Blog. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M5QM-19P.

"Bert D Travis New York State Census, 1915." FamilySearch Blog. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9X2-T94.

"Bert Travis New York State Census, 1925." FamilySearch Blog. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KSMC-JD2.

"Bert Travis." Find A Grave. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/67050942/bert-travis.

"Bert Travis United States Census, 1900." FamilySearch Blog. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MS67-5PD.

"Bert Travis United States Census, 1930." FamilySearch Blog. Accessed January 29, 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X7HQ-3YR.

“Late Local News”. Bolivar Breeze. (Bolivar, New York). September 25, 1919. Accessed, January 29, 2019. http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn84031157/1919-09-25/ed-1/seq8/#date1=01%2F01%2F1869&index=0&date2=
12%2F31%2F1932 &words=Bert+Bert%E2%80%99Travis+Travis&toyear2=1932&searchType=advanced&sequence=0&from_year2=1869&proxdistance=5&page=1&county=Allegany&rows=20&
ortext=&proxtext=bert+travis&phrasetext=&andtext=&dateFilter

New York Prohibition Party. Prohibition Part Hand-Book, State of New York, 1906. Elmira, Chemung Publishing Company, 1906.

-- Jon Makeley, writing in the New York Prohibitionist v.1, no.12

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