John Appley Ferrell, lawyer of Sedan, was representative of the Forty-ninth District in the Legislature in 1915-16 and in the general election of 1916 was elected to the State Senate. While in the Legislature he was chairman of the oil and gas committee, chairman of the library committee, and a member of the judiciary and school lands committees. He was also a member on the conference committee on appropriations and exerted a creditable influence in keeping down extravagant appriations during that session.
Mr. Ferrell had had a long and active career, divided about evenly between his work as an educator and his practice as a lawyer. He was born in Lanes Prairie in Maries County, Missouri, September 23, 1865. His grandfather, Rev. Enoch Ferrell, was a minister of the Baptist Church, was a native of Kentucky, moved in the early days to Indiana, from there to Missouri and died in that state. His son, Rev. John M. Ferrell, who became a minister of the Christian Church, was born in Jackson County, Indiana, January 27, 1831, and died at Sedan, Kansas, April 15, 1908. He was a youth when he went with his parents to Missouri, and in that state he married Miss Elvira Fitzgerald. She was born in St. Louis County, Missouri, April 23, 1830, and died at Sedan, Kansas, March 30, 1897. Her father, John Fitzgerald, was a native of Kentucky, an early settler in Indiana, whence he moved to Missouri, and died in that state after a long career as a farmer. Rev. John M. Ferrell lived in Missouri until 1893, when he took up his residence at Sedan. He was a republican in politics. The children born to him and his wife were: Ophele, who died in Missouri, at the age of twenty-three months; Olivia, who died in Missouri, aged eighteen; Thomas Enoch, who died in Missouri when three years old; John A.; and Joseph Warren, who died in Missouri at the age of sixteen months.
The only survivor of these children, John Appley Ferrell, was reared in Maries County, Missouri, attended the common schools there and largely from means earned through his own exertions he continued his higher education in the Valparaiso Normal and Business Institute at Valparaiso, Indiana. He graduated in the commercial course in 1885, in the teachers’ course in 1886, was granted the degree Bachelor of Science by that institution in 1887, and a number of years later in 1897 obtained the degree of civil engineer. On leaving Valparaiso he became a teacher, taught for several years in Missouri, later was a member of the faculty of the Steelville Normal School at Steelville, Missouri, and from there came to Kansas in August, 1892. For four years Mr. Ferrell was superintendent of the public schools of Sedan. For one year he was a member of the Kansas Normal College faculty at Fort Scott. He then returned to Sedan; and continued as superintendent of the local schools for five years. He was then elected superintendent of schools of Chautauqua County, Kansas, but soon resigned that office to take the chair of mathematics in the Southwestern Territorial Normal School at Westherford, Oklahoma, where he remained three years.
While superintendent of schools at Sedan Mr. Ferrell applied himself to the study of law, and was admitted to the bar in 1896, though he did not begin active practice until 1906. In February, 1909, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Kansas. He was first associated with Hon. Charles D. Shukers, now of Independence. Mr. Shukers was at one time assistant attorney general of Kansas and also a member of the board of control. Later Mr. Ferrell practiced with H. E. Sadler, now of Memphis, Tennessee. In February, 1911, he formed a partnership with W. H. Sproul of Sedan, but since October 1, 1913, he had practiced alone in that city, with offices in the First National Bank Building. Mr. Ferrell had investments in farm lands and owned his residence in the west part of Sedan.
He is a man of broad experience in affairs, well equipped mentally for the heaviest tasks of his profession, and had the keen analytical mind which is of the greatest service to a man in public life.
In 1887 Mr. Ferrell married Miss Emma Lugabill. Her father, Christian Lugabill, was born in Allen County, Ohio, and now resided at Bluffton in that state. For many years he served as head bridge carpenter for the Lake Erie and Western Railway. Mr. and Mrs. Ferrell are the parents of three children, Ray, who is a graduate of the Sedan High School, the Southwestern State Normal School of Oklahoma, and of Oklahoma University with the degree A. B., is now the wife of Edgar D. Meacham, who is also a graduate in the classical course from the Oklahoma University and had his master’s degree from Harvard University, and is now an instructor of mathematics in the State University of Oklahoma with residence at Norman. Pauline, the second child, died at the age of three years. Enoch Brewer is now a junior in the Oklahoma State University.
Mr. Ferrell had long been a member of the Kansas State Bar Association. Fraternally he is affiliated with Vesper Lodge No. 136, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, with Syroc Chapter No. 42, Royal Arch Masons, is past master of his lodge and past high priest of his chapter, is a member of St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, of Independence; of Wichita Consistory No. 2, of the Scottish Rite; Midian Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Wichita; and Independence Council, Royal and Select Masters. He is one of the best informed Masons in the State of Kansas and is at present chairman of the jurisprudence committee of the Grand Lodge of Masons and is president of the Grand Council of the Order of Anointed High Priests of Kansas.