Biography of Hiland Southworth

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Hiland Southworth. Abilene was far out on the western frontier when a young lawyer named Hiland Southworth joined himself to the community in 1878. In the growth and development of the city and surrounding connty Mr. Southworth afterward had a most infinential and active part. His own success and prosperity rose with the community and he made his business, that of investment banking, a tried and sure resource and a bulwark of financial integrity. The judgment and abilities required for the handling of investments both large and small Mr. Southworth possessed to a rare degree approximating genius.

Mr. Southworth was of New England ancestry. He was born at Clarendon in Rutland County, Vermont, September 26, 1849, the fourth son of Seymour and Rachel (Sherman) Southworth. His parents were natives of the same town and state, They had ten children, four daughters and six sons.

Mr. Southworth grew up on a Vermont farm. His people were thrifty New Englanders, though in moderate circumstances, and they encouraged him to acquire a liberal education. In September, 1871, he entered Middlebury College at Middlebury, Vermont, and was graduated with the honors of his class in 1875. For a year he read law at Rutland, Vermont, and for another year he taught school and read law at the same time at Rosendale, Wisconsin. Coming to Kansas in 1876, Mr. Southworth continued his law reading at Junction City and was admitted to the bar in 1878. He chose as his location the young city of Abilene, which still had something of the lurid reputation which surrounded it as a wild cattle town. Mr. Southworth practiced law only a short time. He then turned to the field for which his talents best fitted him, investment banking, and in that special province his career had its greatest fruitage. Millions of dollars of capital from eastern and local sources were invested under his direction and supervision. These investments have stood the test of hard times and all other vicissitudes common to Kansas, and the investors have always had a high degree of security due to the conservative and careful management under which Mr. Southworth conducted his business. His reputation extended all over Kansas and became known to bankers in other states. Along with banking he was one of the leading abstractors in Dickinson County for many years. While he invested an enormous capital for others, Mr. Southworth also showed his individual faith in this part of Kansas and acquired large holdings of farm and city properties. For over twenty years one of the substantial blocks of Abilene was his business headquarters and bore the title in prominent letters Hiland Southworth, Investment Banker.

In politics Mr. Southworth was a republican but never sought honors from the party. He was a Knight Templar Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine and belonged to the Congregational Church. On June 14, 1882, at Clarendon, Vermont, he married Ella E. Walker. Mrs. Southworth was born in Vermont January 14, 1861, a daughter of Noah S. and Sarah A. (Phillips) Walker, also natives of Vermont and of an old family of English stock. Mrs. Southworth was educated at Essex Classical Instituts at Essex. Vermont, and in the Burr & Burton Seminary. Mr. and Mrs. Southworth had no children but they reared his ncphcw and niece, Hiland G. Southworth and Elsie A. Southworth. These foster children were born at Lakeport, California, Hiland G. on July 31, 1877, and Elsie on August 28, 1882. Elsie is now the wife of Edward Hempstead Fielding, of Manhattan, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Southworth indulged their inclination and used some of their generons means for extensive travel. They visited many parts of America and in 1908 made a tour of Europe. Mr. Southworth died June 19, 1917.

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. Web. 30 January 2015. - Last updated on Apr 21st, 2012

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