Biography of D. R. Blankinship

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D. R. Blankinship. The residence of D. R. Blankinship in Butler County covers a period of more than forty-seven years, during which time he had prospered greatly in the accumulatlon of property and in the gaining of respect and esteem at the hands of his fellow-townsmen. At the time of his arrival this well-known pioneer had little capital to aid him save that represented by his ambition and energy, yet he is now one of the most substantial men of his county, being the owner of 4,300 acres of land, and his home property, located abont two and one-half miles south of Rosalia, in Bosalia Township, had been secured solely through the labor of his hands and the keenness of his mind.

Mr. Blankinship was born February 24, 1844, on a farm in Vermillion County, Illinois, and is a son of William C. and Almeda (Stearns) Blankinship. The family originated in England and traces its ancestry back in this country to four brothers who emigrated to America before tho Revolution and settled in the colony of North Carolina. Mr. Blankinship’s paternal grandfather, William Blankinship, was born in North Carolina, became a pioneer preacher and circuit rider of the Baptist faith in Vermillion County, Illinois, and there rounded out an active and useful career. On his father’s mother’s side, D. R. Blankinship is a great-great-grandson of William Smalley, who had a most interesting history. When he was a child, living at Fort Pitts, Pennsylvania, his father was killed by the Indians, and William was taken prisoner and adopted by the Cherokee tribe. After five years he managed to effect an escape and returned to his white friends, and was subsequently married at Muskingum, Ohio. Because of the knowledge he had gained of the language and customs of the Cherokees, he was sent as one of the peace commissioners of the United States Government to treat with the Indians, but the latter proved treacherous and the five men sent with Smalley were put to death and he was again held as a prisoner. In spite of a close watch kept upon him, he managed to escape after two years and made his way back to his family in Muskingum County, Ohio, where he was the proprietor of a grist mill for some years. Later he emigrated to Vermillion County, Illinois, and there his death occurred in 1838, his records still being kept by the Indians at Muskogee, Oklahoma.

William C. Blankinship, the father of D. R. Blankinship, was born in May, 1818, in Jefferson County, Indiana, and was a young man when taken by his father to Vermillion County, Illinois. He was a stone mason by trade, and in following that vocation as a journeyman took his family in 1846 to Williamson County, Texas, and located near Georgetown, where he lived for about ten years. Returning at that time to Vermillion County, Illinois, he passed two years there and in 1858 went to Warren County, Indiana, where he was living during the Civil war. In 1864 he enlisted for the one-hundred-day service in the Union army, becoming a member of the One Hundred Thirty-fifth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Following this he resumed the occupations of peace, and from that time forward lived at various places. While he was a stone mason by vocation and followed that trade in numerous localities, he always lived on a farm and raised his family thereon. His death occurred at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in December, 1887, but his body was interred in the home cemetery of the family at Rosalia. Politically he was originally a whig and later a republican, while his religious faith was that of the Baptist Church, of which he was a stanch supporter and a deacon. Mr. Blanklnship married Miss Almeda Stearns, who was born in Jannary, 1821, in Olark County, Ohio, and died at Rosalia, Kansas, in March 1901, and they became the parents of the following children: John William, who died in Vermillion County, Illinois, at the age of two years; Zara, who died when two years old in that county; Mary, who died as the wife of the late John E. Matthews, who was a farmer of the locality of Gainesville, Texas; D. R., of this notlce; Caroline, who died as the wife of Oscar Gravat, a farmer of Vermillion County, Illinois; Sarah Ellen, who died as the wife of the late A. M. Burkholder, a farmer and telegraph operator of El Dorado; A. A., who was for a number of years in the coal and building business but is now living in retirement at El Dorado; Martin A., who is a farmer of the O’Keene eommpunity of Oklahoma; Mattie, who is the widow of J. P. Burkholder, a farmer, and resided at El Dorado; Z. T., who is engaged in farming two miles south of Rosalia; and Emily P., who is the widow of Frank DuBois, a farmer, and resided at Iola, Kansas.

The early education of D. R. Blankinship was secured in the public schools of Williamson County, Texas, following which he went to school in Vermillion County, Illinois, and Warren County, Indiana. He resided at home until he was past sixteen years of age, but when the Civil war came on and his uncle, Z. T. Stearns, went to the front with the Union forces, young Blankinship went to live on the farm of his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Z. T. Stearns, for whom he cared until his uncle’s safe return at the close of hostilities, in 1865. In the meantime, in 1864, Mr. Blankinship had been married, and in 1865 came with his bride to Neosho County, Kansas, where he farmed for one spring and summer. He then left Kansas and went to Clark County, Illinois, where he farmed for one year, and after selling his crops went to Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and there conducted a sawmill for two years. In the summer of 1869 he changed the scene of his operations to Warren County, Indiana, and in the fall of the same year once again came to Kansas, this time locating in Butler County, where he had since remained. In the following year. Mr. Blankinship homesteaded a quarter-section of land in Rosalia Township, two and one-half miles south of Rosalia. Here he built a log house, fourteen by sixteen feet. using in its construction all the logs that he could find. Had he been able to secure more lumber he would have built a mnch larger house. On this farm he had since resided, but its size had increased to 4,300 acres, the operations on which he still supcrintends in spite of the fact that he had reached an age when most men feed they have earned retirement. He had made two important improvements on the land in the way of dwelling facilities, in addition to hls own residence, all being modern, well-constructed and wellequipped reaidences, and having in connection other bulldings for the shelter of stock, grain, machinery, ate.

Mr. Blankinship’s career had been one of steady overcoming of obstacles and of rise from comparative poverty to affinence. When he first came to Rosalia Township he was favorably impyessed with the country, but his capital was limited and during the first few years his progress was slow. He had a team of horses, and shortly after his arrival one of them died, and, as he had not the means with which to buy another, he traded his other snimal for a pig, a cow and a cash consideration. During his first year or two he worked out for other settlers during a part of the time, taking his pay in provisions, and finally started in the cattle business by buying some calves. He next traded some of these calves for a team of oxen, but a malevolent fate seemed to pursue his animals, as one of the oxen was killed by a stroke of lightning, and, resorting to his usual remedy for a broken team, Mr. Blankinship sold the other animal the following day. He did the first plowing that was done in the township and built the second house here, and thus it will be seen that he is to be numbered among the real pioneers. In February, 1870, he sowed wheat and osts on the burned prairie and turned it under and from this he reaped eleven bushels of wheat and twenty five bushels of oats, of good quality, to the acre. When the stage line was established from Fort Scott to Wichita, the stage station was established at Mr. Blankinship’s place, with the usual agreement that payment would be made at the end of three months’ service. One Tom Taylor was carrying the mail at that time, and just before payday this character skipped the country, and Mr. Blankinship thus met with another misfortune in not being able to collect for his services in taking care of and feeding the horses for the quarter. He had numerous other ups and downs during the early years. but eventually his hard and persistent work began to tell, and he prospered gradually. From time to time he added’ to his land holdings until he had become one of the large owners of Butler County. Mr. Blankinship had been here just forty-three years when he had aceumulated 4,300 acres of land, this being an average of 100 acres a year, which is an accumulation which may be characterized as a decided achievement.

During the greater part of his time Mr. Blankinship had followed general farming and stockraising and his undertakings have proved uniformly successful. During the uncertain days in Butler County he managed to weather the storms, as he was always willing to accept work aside from that on his own land and thus added materially to his income. In 1874 he was made distributor of supplies sent to aid the striken settlers who had suffered from the devastation worked by the great plague of grasshoppers. Always, he had taken a commendable interest in local affairs and had supported good government in his community, his county and his state. While he had never aspired to public position, he had filled several minor offices, having been constable of his township in 1872, and, as a friend of education, acted for a number of terms in the capacity of member of the school board. He had a wide acquaintance and friendship throughout Butler County, and is considered one of the substantial men whose sterling quelities have done so much for progress and advancement in this part of Kansas. His politics are republican, but he had leanings toward the progressive party.

In 1864, in Warren County, Indiana, Mr. Blankinship was united in marriage with Miss Hannah A. Brown, who was born in that county, June 9, 1843, a daughter of Isaac. Brown. To this union there have been born children as follows: William L, who died at the age of two years; Marvin T., who died when just past one year old; Ella, who died when about the same age; Martin A, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits 2 1/2 miles south of Rosslia; Charles A.; L. A., who is assisting his brother Charles A. in the general store at Rosalia; and A. Z., who is assisting his father in the management of the home farm.

Charles A. Blankinship, son of D. R. Blankinship, was born in Rosalia Township, Butler County, Kansas, March 12, 1875, and was reared on the homestead farm and educated in the puhlic schools of Rosalia Township. At the age of twenty-one years he began agricultural operations on his own account, and continued therein until 1901, in which year he removed to Rosalia and turned his attention to mercantile lines, establishing himself in business as proprietor of a general store, which had since grown to be one of the two largest enterprfses of its kind at Rosalia. This is situated on Main Street, and now attracts a large patronage, which had been built up through honorable transactions and good business management. Mr. Blankinship is the owner of a reeidence on Main Street, as well as a farm of 312 1/2 acres in Sycamore Township, Butler County, close to the oil belt. He is knowa as a sound and reliable buainees man and as a good citizen. and had attracted numerous friends to himself. In political matters he favors the policies and candidates of the republican party, and on that ticket had been elected a member of the township board of trustees. His fraternal affiliation is with Rosalia Camp No. 7154, Modern Woodmen of America.

In March, 1898, in Pontiac, Kansas, Charles A. Blankinship married Miss Alma Piper, daughter of A. E. and Sarah (Downs) Piper, pioneers of 1870 in Butler County, who now reside on their farm one-half mile sonth of Rosalia. To this union there have been born two children; Charles Stanley, born April 10, 1900, a sophomore at the Rosalia High School; and Mildred V., born December 14, 1903, who is attending the graded school.



MLA Source Citation:

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 20 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/kansas/biography-of-d-r-blankinship.htm - Last updated on Apr 21st, 2012

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