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Biography of Edwin D. Mikesell

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Edwin D. Mikesell. The long and uniformly progressive career of Edwin D. Mikesell, of Fredonia, had been characterized by several noticeable personal traits, among which may be mentioned versatility of talents combined with thoroughness of preparation and depth of legal knowledge. A man of broad education and wide experience, of high personal character, courteous and able, he is not alone one of Wilson County’s strong legists, but a man who had served his community and his state in positions of official importance, in which he had demonstrated unusual executive ability.

Mr. Mikesell was born on a farm nine miles southeast of Fredonia, in Wilson County, Kansas, November 13, 1871, and is a son of Daniel L. and Mary (Lingel) Mikesell. The Mikesell family was founded in America by Jacob Mikesell, the great-great-grandfather of Edwin D., who was a native of Germany and on coming to this country settled in Pennsylvania, where he spent the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits. His son, Joseph Mikesell, was the great-grandfather of Edwin D. Among his children was David Mikesell, the grandfather of Edwin D. who was born in 1803 in Montgomery County, Ohio. In 1836 he removed to Indiana, later, in 1853, he continued west to Iowa, and finally, in 1869, located in Woodson County, Kansas, being a pioneer in all these states. His death occurred at Neodesha, Kansas, in 1877, when he was seventy-four years of age. Mr. Mikesell followed farming principally, but was also a mechanical wizard, and in the shop upon his farm made steel traps, spinning wheels and almost any article which his family or his neighbors required. Mr. Mikesell married Miss Catherine Cripe, a native of Indiana, who died in that state, and they had thirteen children: Elizabeth, Fannie, Susannah, Catherine, Daniel L., Sarah, Mary, David D., Hannah, Joseph, John M., Amanda and Lydia. All are dead except Fannie, who resided in Elkhart County, Indiana; Daniel L.; and John N., who is a carpenter of Neodesha, Kansas.

Daniel L. Mikesell was born in 1836, in Indiana, and was reared in Elkhart County, that state, until he was seventeen years of age, at which time he went with his parents to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There he was married and remained until past twenty-one years of age, and in 1858 came to Kansas and settled near Neosho Falls, in Woodson County, where he pre-empted eighty acres of land. On that property he resided until 1869, when he came to Wilson County and took up a farm nine miles from Fredonia, there carrying on operations until his retirement in 1907, when he disposed of his holdings and removed to Fredonia. Mr. Mikesell had led a successful career, and now, in the evening of life, is in the enjoyment of a comfortable competency. He is a republican, but had not held office. In 1864 he answered the call of his country and enlisted in Company I, Sixteenth Kansas Cavalry, an organization with which he served during the remainder of the Civil war, participating in the battles of Westport, Newtonia, Mine Creek, Missouri, and following Price down into Arkansas at the time of that general’s second raid into Missouri. Mr. Mikesell married Miss Mary Lingel, who was born in Indiana, in 1835, and died in Wilson County, Kansas, on the farm, in 1906, and they had six children, namely: Amanda, who died in Wilson County, Kansas, in 1899, as the wife of E. J. Robbins, now a real estate agent of Bloomington, Illinois; Elhanan, who died at the age of nine years; Alice, who is the wife of H. P. Shafer, a heating and plumbing contractor of Fredonia, Kansas; Edwin D., of this notice; Alforetta, who died in Wilson County, Kansas, in 1907, as the wife of W. E. Bowers, a farmer of Osborne County, Kansas; and L. D., who is a merchant of Fredonia, Kansas.

Edwin D. Mikesell received his preliminary schooling in the rural districts of Wilson County and remained on his father’s farm until reaching the age of twenty years. At that time he entered the Kansas Normal College at Fort Scott, but after one year began teaching school, and for three years was an instructor in the country schools. In the meantime he prosecuted his law studies with Hon. S. S. Kirkpatrick, and May 7, 1897, was admitted to the bar and began practice at Neodesha, where he remained until January 1, 1901. In the previous fall he had been elected to the office of county attorney of Wilson County and on the date named came to Fredonia to take up the duties of his office, in which he remained four years. He then resumed his civil and criminal practice, but was not long allowed to remain out of public life, and in 1905 was made assistant attorney-general for Wilson County, a position in which he continued for two years. A republican in his political views, Mr. Mikesell had long held a high place in the councils of his party. At Neodesha he served as city treasurer and as city attorney. He had always been a friend of education, and since 1906 had been a member of the school board at Fredonia and for the past six years president thereof. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and secretary of the board of trustees thereof, and is fraternally connected with Harmony Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Neodesha, and with Neodesha Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. Mr. Mikesell belongs to the Kansas State Bar Association and no man in the profession in Wilson County had a higher standing among his fellow practitioners. He had been identified with much important litigation in the state courts, in which he had demonstrated the possession of fine legal talent. His offices are located in the Paulen Building, while his home is at No. 631 North Sixth Street. He had been successful in a material as well as professional way, and is the owner of a farm twelve miles southeast of Fredonia, consisting of 236 acres, and some city realty. At various times he had been identified with enterprises of a business nature, and is now president and a member of the board of directors of the Fredonia Telephone Company. Mr. Mikesell had always been a citizen who had been ready to contribute of his time and abilities to the furtherance of public-spirited movements.

In 1898, in Cherokee County, Kansas, Mr. Mikesell was married to Miss Alice Browning, daughter of V. L. and Nannie Browning, farming people who now reside in the vicinity of Guilford, Montana, and to this union there have been born five children: Ralph E., who is a senior at the Fredonia High School; Alma, a member of the sophomore class at that school; Edwin and Helen, who are attending the graded schools; and Mildred Louise.


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