Asbury Francis Lever
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from South Carolina's 7th district
November 5, 1901 – August 1, 1919
|Preceded by||J. William Stokes|
|Succeeded by||Edward C. Mann|
|Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture|
March 4, 1913 – March 3, 1919
|Preceded by||John Lamb|
|Succeeded by||Gilbert N. Haugen|
|Chairman of the House Committee on Education|
March 4, 1911 – March 3, 1913
|Preceded by||James F. Burke|
|Succeeded by||Dudley M. Hughes|
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives|
|Born||January 5, 1875|
Lexington County, South Carolina
|Died||April 28, 1940 (aged 65)|
Lexington County, South Carolina
|Spouse(s)||Lucile Scurry Butler|
|Alma mater||Newberry College|
Georgetown University Law School
Frank Lever was born near Springhill, Lexington County, South Carolina on January 5, 1875. He was the son of a farmer, Asbury Francis Washington Lever, and Mary Elvira Derrick. He attended the county schools and graduated from Newberry College with honors in 1895. He taught school for two years.
He moved to Washington, D.C. as the private secretary to Representative J. William Stokes from 1897 to 1901. He graduated from the Law Department of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 1899 and was admitted to the bar in South Carolina the same year but did not practice.
He married Lucile Scurry Butler in 1911. They had two children.
He was a delegate to the Democratic State conventions in 1896 and 1900. He was elected a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1901. He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of J. William Stokes was reelected to the Fifty-eighth and to the eight succeeding Congresses and served from November 5, 1901, until August 1, 1919.
Lever was the chairman of the House Committee on Education from 1911 to 1913 (Sixty-second Congress) and Committee on Agriculture (Sixty-third through Sixty-fifth Congresses). His major legislative achievements were in the area of state and federal efforts in agricultural and rural life. Major bills were the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that established the Cooperative Extension Service, the Cotton Futures Act of 1914, the Cotton Warehouse Act of 1916, Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916 that created the Farm Credit Administration, and the Food and Fuel Control Act of 1917 that created a Food Administration and a Fuel Administration for World War I.
He resigned from Congress to become a member of the Federal Farm Loan Board, in which capacity he served until 1922. He briefly ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor of South Carolina in 1930, but sickness ended his campaign.
He was a Chair of the Board of Trustees of Newberry College and Life Trustee of Clemson College from 1913 to 1940. He was elected president of the First Carolinas Joint Stock Land Bank at Columbia, South Carolina, in 1922 and was a field representative of Federal Farm Board. He was a director of the public relations administration of the Farm Credit Administration until his death.
He died on April 28, 1940, at “Seven Oaks,” in Lexington County, South Carolina. He is interred at College Hill (Woodland) Cemetery, on campus of Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina.
The Cooperative Extension Service is a legacy to Lever. This helped transform rural America. The Liberty Ship SS A. Frank Lever was named after Lever. Lever Hall, a high-rise dormitory on the Clemson University campus, is named after Lever.
The Clemson University Library has Lever's papers.
- Edgar, Walter (2006). South Carolina Encyclopedia. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 551–552. ISBN 978-1-57003-598-2.
- "LEVER, Asbury Francis, (1875 - 1940)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- House Committee on Education and Labor. "Committee on Education (1883-1947)". Committee History. US Congress. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- House Committee on Agriculture. "Chairmen of the Committee (1819-2004)". Committee History. US Congress. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- Parsons, Sam (Spring 2004). "Lever's great act". Clemson World. Clemson, South Carolina: Clemson University. 57 (2). Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- Gerhardt, Frank A. "SS A. Frank Lever". Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- "Lever Hall". Clemson Campus Album. Clemson University. Archived from the original on 25 November 2004. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- "Frank Lever papers 1895-1964 1900-1940". Clemson University. Retrieved 31 January 2009.