Hon. Arthur Thompson Crocker, present state senator from Chase County, is a member of the firm Crocker Brothers, who as stockmen and farmers have developed some of the biggest interests in that line in the State of Kansas. The center of their operations is near Bazaar in Chase County.
Senator Crocker is a native of Chase County and was born on his father’s cattle ranch here January 17, 1874. He is a son of Erastus Bryant and Annie Elizabeth (Grey) Crocker. Erastus B. Crocker, who was born in New York State in 1840, is a son of Alexander and Dorcas (Bryant) Crocker, the former a native of Maine and the latter of Massachusetts. When Erastus was six years of age his parents moved west from New York to Michigan and he grew up on a farm near Battle Creek, receiving his education in the public schools and also in college. He was just of age when the war broke out and he enlisted in Company C, Seventh Michigan Cavalry. He saw 3½ years of active service and was in many important battles, including Gettysburg. He was with Grant’s army at Appomattox. He was never seriously wounded but had two horses shot from under him. He rose to the rank of captain and left the army with that rank and title.
Captain Crocker was one of the prominent pioneers of the county, where he arrived March 20, 1866. He had traveled by railroad as far as Leavenworth and from there came on by wagon. He took up a homestead in the south part of the county, gradually acquired other lands, and for many years was a recognized leader in public and business affairs. As a republican he represented Chase County in the State Legislature in 1868, and was at one time a member of the board of county commissioners. He was an enthusiastic Mason. His death occurred on the old ranch in Chase County April 18, 1876.
In 1860 Captain Crocker married Miss Hattie Mercy Hoffman, who was born at Three Rivers, Michigan, in April, 1840, and died January 24, 1870, in Chase County. She was the mother of three children: Ada Corena, Erastus Harley and Walter, the last dying in infancy. Ada C., who was born January 19, 1861, married October 14, 1880, Andrew J. Dunlap, who was born at Niles, Ohio, August 20, 1855. They have a son, Andrew Crocker, born December 9, 1895. Erastus Harley Crocker, born December 7, 1862, is now a successful lawyer at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He married in 1891 Ada H. Farmer, and they have six children, two sons and four daughters.
On May 2, 1871, Captain Crocker married his second wife, Mrs. Annie Elizabeth (Grey) Mason. She was born in New York State February 28, 1842, and died May 30, 1897. By her first marriage to John Mason she had a son, John Marshall Mason, who is now living in Kansas City, Missouri. He married in 1890 Lillian Day and they have three children, one son and two daughters. Captain and Mrs. Crocker were the parents of two children, Edward Grey and Arthur T.
Arthur Thompson was educated in the public schools of Chase County and the city schools of Emporia. His early training on his father’s ranch counted strongly in the choice of a career and when he was seventeen he became associated with his brother under the firm name of Crocker Brothers, and together they have developed their extensive ranching and farming interests. At the present time they have a 10,000 acre cattle ranch in Chase County, one of the best in point of equipment and one of the largest now in the entire state. They conduct their business on a plan of efficiency justified by long experience and are breeders and raisers of some of the finest Hereford cattle in Kansas.
Senator Crocker had for many years been an active republican. He was elected to represent the Twenty-third Senatorial District, comprising the counties of Chase, Marion and Morris, in 1916. During the following session he was a member of some of the important committees in the Senate. He is president of the Kansas Hereford Cattle Breeders Association and is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner and also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
The Crocker brothers married sisters, daughters of the late Capt. Henry Brandley. Capt. Henry Brandley was a pioneer and a citizen of such character and ability in Chase County that he deserves some special mention at this point.