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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

14. Notable people,   pp. 249-261


Page 257

Sale, John Wesley
John Wesley Sale was born in Rock County and attended law school at the University of
Michigan. Returning to Janesville after graduation in 1866, he became a partner with attorneys
Charles G. Williams and John R Bennett. In 1886, he was appointed a county judge, serving in
that position for more than 23 years. He also served briefly as city attorney and district
attorney. (Rock River Valley II 1926:768-769)
Sister Mary Michael
Sister Mary Michael was a member of the Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Mercy, who
took over the Palmer Memorial Hospital in the early twentieth century. She served as
hospital administrator during the 1960s and early 1970s, when the city hospital established
itself as a regional medical center. Under her administration, Mercy Hospital undertook its
greatest expansion and made a successful transition from Catholic hospital to public facility.
She was the last in a long line of Sisters of Mercy to administer the hospital before it passed
into public hands. ("New Mercy Hospital is Ready to Serve" 1974:1)
Soverhill, Myron H.
Myron Soverhill began his involvement in the tobacco business as a farmer. By the 1880s, he
was dealing in both tobacco and wool. He became one of the city's leading tobacco dealers.
(Portrait and Biographical Album 1889:529-530)
Spencer, John C.
John C. Spencer contributed to the growth and development of both the local press and the
Janesville fire department. A native of New York State, he came with his family to Janesville
in 1852. He began working for the Janesville Gazette as a paper carrier. In 1853, he was
promoted to a position in the paper's print shop, where he worked until about 1880. That year
he became city editor of the paper, a position he held until he retired in 1895. Spencer also had
an illustrious career in the local fire department. He joined as a torch boy in 1855 and rose
through the organization to hold every position, including secretary, assistant chief-engineer,
and chief. He is credited with helping to modernize the department in the late nineteenth
century. (Portrait and Biographical Album 1889:833)
Sutherland, Helen Menzies
Helen Menzies Sutherland was a prominent educational and civic leader in twentieth century
Janesville. Born in 1878 on the family farm, the daughter of Scottish immigrants, she attended
high school and had a career as a rural school teacher before marrying Dr. Fred Sutherland in
1905 and moving to Janesville. Like many middle-class, educated women of her generation,
Sutherland became active in women's civic and social organizations, including the Janesville
Woman's Club, the YWCA, and music and art societies. She was one of the few women to serve
in public office before World War II. Active in the Parent Teachers Association of Grant
School, she was encouraged to run for a seat on the school board in 1920. She won the election
and served on the board for 10 years, including a term as president. Sutherland was
instrumental in improving education for children with special needs in the Janesville schools.
She continued her interests in civic and women's organizations until her death in 1967. (We
Were Here c.1986:30-31)
Notable People
257


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