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Fred Perkins. To acquire a name that is a synonym of business integrity and honor and that is entitled to the respect of an entire community is of itself one of the highest goals to which the ambition of a man can aspire. It is not something that can be attained in a few short years. It is the result of long continued energy, fair dealing and strict probity.
The people of Labette County know Fred Perkins not only as an old settler of that section but as a man who has carried a fine force and wholesomeness of character into all his relations with the community. For many years he has been and still is an active farmer in the county and in later years has built up an extensive business in farm loans and is president of the State Bank of Oswego.
He is one of the comparatively few Kansas men who can trace their ancestry in an unbroken line to the time when the Massachusetts Bay colony was established. His original American ancestor was John Perkins, who was born at Newent, Gloucestershire, England, in 1590. He sailed from Bristol, England, on December 1, 1630, with his family, and landed at Nantucket, Massachusetts, in May, 1631. He died in 1654. His son, Jacob Perkins, was born in England in 1624 and was six years of age when the family left England. He died in Massachusetts in 1699. The next generation was headed by Matthew Perkins, who was born in Connecticut and died in Chaplain of that state in 1773. Matthew Perkins, who was a farmer, married his wife when she was fifteen years of age, and their first child was born when she was sixteen. She became the mother of twelve children and lived to be eighty-seven years of age.
In the next generation was Ephraim Perkins, who was born at Chaplain, Connecticut, in 1745, spent his life as a farmer and died at Becket, Massachusetts, in 1813. Becket was the home of a number of generations of this family. Ephraim Perkins was the great-grandfather of Fred Perkins. The grandfather was Origen Augustus Perkins, who was born at Becket in 1785 and died at Becket in 1854. He spent all his life as a farmer.
Fred Perkins was born at Becket, Massachusetts, September 16, 1845, and is a son of C. O. Perkins. His father was born at Becket, September 22, 1820, and died at Thomasville, Georgia, in May, 1887. He was reared and married at Becket and was not only a farmer but a prominent business man of his town. His home throughout his life was at Becket, though his interests led him to various other states. He paid his first visit to Kansas in 1871, and spent much of his time in this state thereafter. In his home state and town he served as chairman of the school board many years, and was a republican and a member of the Congregational Church. C. O. Perkins married Serepta C. Snow, who was born in Becket in 1824 and died there in 1845. Of their marriage Fred Perkins was the only child. The father then married a sister of his first wife, Olive C. Snow. She was born in 1818 at Becket and died there in 1884. She became the mother of two children: Belle died in girlhood at Becket; Blanche lives at Dorchester, Massachusetts, the widow of R. F. Alger, who was a minister of the Baptist Church.
His early life Fred Perkins spent in his native Town of Becket. He attended the public schools there and in 1865 graduated from the Wilbraham Academy. For two years he was also a student in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Mr. Perkins has been continuously identified with Southeastern Kansas since 1870 and was thus one of the early pioneers of Labette County, locating there soon after the Indians left, and the land was open for settlement. He began farming at Oswego, and farming is the vocation that furnished him at least the foundation for his generous prosperity. He still owns about 900 acres, divided into several high class farms, situated north, south and west of Oswego. He devotes this land to diversified farming and is one of the leading raisers of Hereford cattle in the county. His comfortable home is situated on North Street in Oswego. He also owns the office building on Commercial Street where his own offices are. He is president of the State Bank of Oswego, and is senior member of the firm of Fred and C. S. Perkins, dealers in farm loans. They are one of the old and reliable firms in this line, and their business covers Southeastern Kansas, Southern Missouri, Northern Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
While getting his creditable success Mr. Perkins has not neglected the public welfare. For fifteen years he served as a member of the city council of Oswego, and is president of the Labette County Good Roads Association. He is an independent republican, a member of the Oswego Commercial Club, and in Masonry is affiliated with Oswego Lodge No. 63, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Oswego Chapter No. 13, Royal Arch Masons, and Oswego Commandery No. 7, Knights Templar.
In September, 1869, at Becket, Massachusetts, Mr. Perkins married Miss Mary E. May of Woodstock, Connecticut. Her father, Thomas May, was a farmer. Of the seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Perkins three now survive. A brief record of the children is as follows: Thomas, who died at the age of fourteen months; Charles Snow, who is a graduate of the State Normal School at Emporia and is now junior member of the firm of Fred and C. S. Perkins, farm loans, at Oswego; Clitus, who died at the age of eleven months; Olive May, who died at the age of one year; the fifth child died in infancy unnamed; Kate S., a graduate of the Oswego Woman’s College, is the wife of W. E. McGregor of Oswego; Elizabeth M., also a graduate of Oswego College, is the wife of Ray Taylor, a jeweler at Oswego.