We recently received some digital pictures depicting former Norristown Buress, Rev. John Elmer Saul. He was born on November 2, 1872 in Maidencreek, Berks County. He was a reverend at the First Baptist Church of Pottstown prior to coming to Norristown.
From left to right - J. Elmer Saul, wife Eleanor "Nellie" Saul, Ruth Saul, Frances Saul, Raymond Saul.
Saul was elected Burgess in a close, three-way race in 1913. He narrowly won election by 23 votes! Saul was the Washington Party candidate. This was a progressive third party that split from the Republican Party around 1912. Outside of Pennsylvania it is referred to as the Progressive Party or Bull Moose Party. Saul's competitors were Republican Abraham D. Hallman and Democrat T. J. Baker.
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 6, 1913
Saul's term as Burgess occurred just before Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. Saul was known for his support of Prohibition and thus frequently pushed for anti-alcohol policies in the borough. He remained Burgess until 1918. Based on an article in the Evening Public Ledger, it seems Saul chose not to run again for office. Samuel D. Crawford was elected as his replacement.
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In addition to being Burgess, Saul was an assistant pastor at First Baptist Church in Norristown. He was often credited for his superb speaking abilities. In addition to his religious work, Saul founded the Eureka Printing Press Company in 1902. This company was located on Barbadoes St. in Norristown.
Back Row - Ruth Saul and Raymond Saul. Front Row - J. Elmer Saul, Helen Saul (in lap), Eleanor Saul, Frances Saul.
Thank you Susan Weidner Novak for sending us these digital images and information about Burgess Saul!
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 6, 1913. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/44632687/phila-inquirer-6-nov-1913/
Evening public ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, November 07, 1917, Final, Page 10, Image 10 “Wets and Drys” https://panewsarchive.psu.edu/lccn/sn83045211/1917-11-07/ed-1/seq-10/ocr.txt
The Bankers Encyclopedia, Volume 47,
March 1918, https://books.google.com/books?id=wMMo2Z37ELwC&pg=PA1672&lpg=PA1672&dq=former+burgess+of+norristown+pa+j.+elmer+saul&source=bl&ots=uFiXdsLBvt&sig=ACfU3U3qfb_acB-vHc2SxHBvDuVNIDuhJQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjo9OzO0KHwAhW9UjABHdvQBiAQ6AEwBHoECA0QAw#v=snippet&q=elmer%20saul&f=false
Industrial Directory of Pennsylvania, Volume 2