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Hon. Jeremiah D. Botkin. This distinguished citizen of Kansas was born April 24, 1849, in a log house on a farm in Logan County, Illinois. His parents were Richard and Nancy (Barr) Botkin, and his ancestry traces straight back to a Revolutionary hero.
Richard Botkin was born April 24, 1822, in Clark County, Ohio, and he died at Wellington, Kansas, March 24, 1898. He was a son of George and Sarah (Hester) Botkin, the father being a native of Virginia and the son of Charles Botkin, a Revolutionary soldier from that state, and the mother a native of Ohio. Richard Botkin was a farmer all his life. He removed from Ohio to Illinois in 1844 and engaged in farming there until 1866, when he came to Kansas and bought an improved farm in Linn County. In 1879 he removed to Harper County and took an active part in the original organization of that county. In 1888 he retired from farm life and his death occurred ten years later. In politics he was a sound republican. He was one of the old members of the Masonic fraternity, and from youth up had been a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In Logan County, Illinois, in 1848, Richard Botkin was married to Mrs. Nancy (Barr) Cline. Her people were pioneers in Sangamon County, Illinois, and she was born on a farm, March 20, 1825, that is now the site of the city of Springfield. Her parents were John and Comfort (Marvel) Barr, her father being a native of South Carolina and her mother of Delaware. Her first marriage was to John Cline, who at death left two children, William Hamilton and Sarah Jane Cline. William H. Cline was a man of note in several professions in Kansas, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a lawyer, a teacher and farmer. He died at Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1906, leaving four sons and two daughters. Sarah Jane Cline in 1864 became the wife of Rev. S. E. Pendleton, a well known exponent of Methodism in Kansas. John Barr, the maternal grandfather of Hon. Jeremiah D. Botkin, was a son of John Barr, who was of Irish birth and in 1796 was married in South Carolina to Nancy Agnes Hamilton, who was a cousin of Hon. Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s greatest statesmen.
To Richard and Nancy Botkin the following children were born: Jeremiah D.; Mary E., who was born March 24, 1851, died May 20, 1913, at Houston, Texas; John Thomas, who was born May 7, 1853, is now Secretary of State of the State of Kansas; Lou C., who was born February 13, 1855, is the wife of E. C. Walden, a farmer in Seward County, Kansas; Charles Fremont, who was born May 25, 1857, died August 23, 1860; George Murray, who was born June 19, 1859, died in February, 1862; Charles Edward, who was born September 2, 1861, is a resident of Wichita, Kansas; and Florence Amelia, who was born February 19, 1864, is the wife of Thomas F. Calhoon, a merchant at Liberty, Texas. All were born in Logan County, Illinois. The mother passed away January 27, 1908, at Yellville, Arkansas, having been a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church all her life, and an example of all womanly virtues.
Jeremiah D. Botkin accompanied his parents to Kansas in 1866 and assisted his father on the home farm until he was twenty-one years old, in the meanwhile securing a district school education in Linn County, and before he had reached his majority had taught three terms of school. His entrance into manhood was celebrated by his return to Logan County, Illinois, where he joined the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a minister in that body and two years of devoted, conscientious service followed. He then entered Asbury, now known as De Pauw University, at Greencastle, Indiana, and remained there for one year. Mr. Botkin continued a member of the Illinois Conference until 1882, when he was transferred to the Southwest Kansas Conference, where he filled important charges, including the presiding eldership of the Wichita District from 1886-1892.
In 1888 Mr. Botkin was elected a delegate from the Southwestern Kansas Conference to the General Conference held in the city of New York in May of that year, a mark of distinction that was fully merited. Still further honors awaited him. In 1891 he was one of a delegation of three sent to represent Kansas Methodism in the Ecumenical Conference, the World Conference, held at Washington, D. C. From 1885 to 1905 he served as a member of the board of trustees of the Methodist College at Winfield, Kansas, and was a charter member of this body. In both Illinois and Kansas Mr. Botkin had been a mighty force for Methodism, but this great field of effort and accomplishment by no means covers all his achievements.
In 1896 Mr. Botkin was elected congressman-at-large on a fusion ticket, and in 1908 he was honored by the democratic party in Kansas giving him the nomination for governor. In 1913 Governor George H. Hodges appointed him warden of the Kansas State Penitentiary, which was confirmed by a unanimous vote in the State Senate, and he filled this position for two years with the efficiency that had marked every effort in his life. In 1915 Mr. Botkin became a Chautauqua lecturer, and some of his subjects are included in the following list: “A Voice from the Underworld,” “Where, When and What?” “The Irrepressible Conflict,” “The Church of the 20th Century,” and “Our Country.” In the above year he spoke all over Ohio in the interests of the Anti-Saloon League, and in 1916 he campaigned over Michigan, in the meanwhile speaking on Chautauqua platforms in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. He had always been popular as a lecturer and had a nation-wide reputation as an orator. He had been for years a fearless advocate of prohibition and undoubtedly had been an inspiration that had contributed to bringing about much of the favorable legislation on this subject.
Mr. Botkin was married July 25, 1875, to Miss Carrie L. Kirkpatrick, who was born at Alton, Illinois, September 5, 1853, and died in McLean County, Illinois, June 14, 1878. His second marriage took place April 30, 1879, to Miss Laura H. Waldo, who was born in De Witt County, Illinois, February 18, 1861, and died at Wichita, Kansas, March 25, 1888. Three children were born to this marriage: Charles R., born February 25, 1880, died in infancy; Ralph Waldo, born August 10, 1882, is a railroad man at Topeka, Kansas; and Fred Bowman, born in March, 1888, died in infancy. On October 9, 1889, Mr. Botkin was married to Mrs. Mary E. (Oliver) Monroe, who was born at La Harpe, Illinois, April 9, 1861. To this marriage three sons and three daughters were born, as follows: Mildred Ninde, who was born August 12, 1890, is an alumnus of Baker University and an instructor in Latin and English; Frances Willard, born August 21, 1892, was for several years a successful teacher and is now the wife of Capt. Vernon R. McMillan, of the national army; Paul Oliver, born July 25, 1894, married Miss Hazel Light of Winfield, Kansas, and is now a first lieutenant in the Third Kansas Infantry; Marion Lincoln, born May 6, 1902, died May 18, 1903; and Dorothy Josephine and Donald Joyce, twins, born December 8, 1906, the latter dying December 15, 1906.
If space permitted it would be interesting to present here the unsolicited testimonials from people in every vocation and position in life who have been appreciative and grateful for the helpful influence that Mr. Botkin had exerted and still continues to exert. His life had been lived largely in the open, a love of humanity having called him into fields of special need and gladly and abundantly had he given of his great talents.