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Biography of George James Sharp
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George James Sharp during the thirty odd years he had lived in Elk County had been a farmer, school teacher, county official, abstractor and lawyer, and his friends and associates say that whatever he undertakes he does with all the enthusiasm of his nature and to the limit of his ability. He is an exceedingly useful citizen, and his services have for several years been untilized by the City of Howard through the office of mayor.
Mr. Sharp was born on a farm in Hendricks County, Indiana, December 26, 1862, a son of William P. and Anna T. (Higgins) Sharp. He had a very interesting ancestral record.
The first Americans of the name were Scotch-Irish people who came from the north of Ireland to Virginia in colonial days. Mr. Sharp is descended from revolutionary ancestors on both sides. His great-great-grandfather, James Sharp, participated in the struggle for independence and became a celebrated scout both during that war and afterwards in the western wilderness. This revolutionary patriot was born in Virginia, but after the Revolutionary war he moved across the mountains and settled in Kentucky. In Bath County, Kentucky, is a town named Sharpsburg, where a number of the Sharp family settled in pioneer times. The village was named in honor of Moses Sharp, a relative of the branch of the family now being considered. Moses Sharp was in the Fourth Virginia Continental troops in the Revolutionary war. The great-grandfather of G. J. Sharp was also named James, was a native of Virginia, born in 1784, and was reared at Sharpsburg, Kentucky. He lived there until his marriage, then removed to Bedford County, Tennessee, and died there five years later in 1816. He was a farmer and millwright.
The next individual in the paternal ancestry is the grandfather, also James Sharp, who was born in Bedford County, Tennessee, January 16, 1814. When he was four years of age, in 1818, the family returned to the vicinity of Sharpsburg in Bass County, Kentucky, and he grew up there. Later he moved to New Winchester in Hendrix County, Indiana, and became one of the pioneer farmers and stockmen of that locality. He lived there until his death on January 16, 1872. He married Malinda M. Randall, who was born in Allen County, Kentucky, May 7, 1819, and died at New Winchester, Indiana, in April, 1908.
Of Mr. Sharp’s maternal line reference should be made to his great-grandfather, Daniel Higgins, who was born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1763. He was one of the boyish patriots in the Revolutionary war, and he afterwards drew a pension for his service. Much of this service was done on the western frontier, in fighting the Indians and their British allies. The annals of the Federal Government show a complete record of his various enlistments. He first enlisted in May, 1779, when sixteen years of age, and served one month as a private in Capt. Silas Hardin’s company in the Virginia troops. Not long afterward he apparently crossed the mountains into Kentucky, since in April, 1780, he enlisted for a month as a private under Capt. John Cowan, and that service was rendered in Kentucky. In July, 1780, he enlisted, serving six weeks as private under Capt. John Ellison, also in Kentucky, in which state all his remaining enlistments were. In June, 1781, he enlisted and served six months as sergeant under Capt. John Ellison. In March, 1782, he enlisted for six weeks as sergeant under Maj. John Logan. There is record of another enlistment and several weeks of service during 1782 as private under Capt. John Martin. His last enlistment was in October, 1782, and he was a private in the ranks for six months under the noted scout and Indian fighter, Simon Kenton.
William P. Sharp, father of George J., was born on a farm at New Winchester, Indiana, August 5, 1838. He grew up there, married, took up farming, and in 1866 removed to Edgar County, Illinois, where he not only farmed but taught school. From 1871 to 1880 he lived on a farm in Douglas County, Illinois, and in 1880 came to Kansas and located near Waverly in Coffey County. From his farm in that section he removed to Elk County in 1883 and bought the farm which is still owned by his estate. This farm comprises 240 acres and is situated 4½ miles northeast of Longton. That was his home the rest of his life, but he died during a visit to the scenes of his birth in Hendricks County, Indiana, on July 4, 1904. His body is now at rest at Longton, Kansas. He became one of the early republican voters and exercised his franchise in that direction the rest of his life. Wherever he lived he was an active member of the Christian Church and served for many years as an elder. His only fraternity was the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His wife, Anna T. Higgins, who was born in April, 1836, at New Winchester, Indiana, is still living, past eighty years of age, at Howard, Kansas. George J. Sharp was the oldest of their children. Dr. E. G. Sharp, a graduate of the Eclectic Medical Institute at Cincinnati, is a physician and surgeon at Guthrie, Oklahoma. Dr. Thomas L., who also graduated from the Eclectic Institute at Cincinnati, is practicing at Orlando, Oklahoma.
George J. Sharp acquired most of his education in Douglas County, Illinois, also attended school in Coffey County, Kansas, and for two years was a student in the Kansas Normal College at Fort Scott. He left that school in 1888, following which he was a teacher in the country districts of Elk County five years, and then put in four years as a farmer. In 1899 Mr. Sharp was elected county clerk of Elk County and gave a creditable administration of that office for five years. In 1904 he opened an office as an abstractor and continues that branch of business to the present time. He is a recognized authority on land titles and descriptions in Elk County and had a very complete set of abstracts. In the intervals of his other business Mr. Sharp carried on the study of law with Mr. Keenan Hurst of Howard, and in January, 1916, was admitted to the Kansas bar.
Mr. Sharp’s property includes a half section of farming land five miles northeast of Lougton, his residence at Cedar and Monroe streets in Howard, and also the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building, in which his offices are located.
For eight years up to 1916 he served as justice of the peace, and in April, 1913, was elected for his first term as mayor, being re-elected in 1915. During his administration the City of Howard had advanced municipally by at least two important improvements. One of these was the installation of an electric lighting system, and the other was the establishment of a natural gas plant, both of which are under municipal ownership.
Mr. Sharp is a republican, is an elder in the Christian Church, is past noble grand of Howard Lodge No. 134, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and a member of Longton Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
On August 10, 1902, at Longton, Kansas, he married Miss Ada F. Sutton, daughter of E. B. and Barbara J. (Wenick) Sutton. Her parents reside at Longton, her father being a retired farmer. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Sharp; George H., born August 11, 1903; and William Robert, who died at the age of five years.
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