Biography of Robert Dinsmore

Robert Dinsmore, whose interests in Rice County and the City of Lyons cover a long period of years, had been successful both as a merchant and farmer, and represents a solid and substantial old family in Western Kansas.

Mr. Dinsmore was born in Pike County, Illinois, August 27, 1863. The paternal ancestry had been in America since colonial days and it is recalled that a Lord Dinsmore of another branch of the same family accompanied General Lafayette on the latter’s second visit to the United States. Robert Dinsmore’s grandfather was also named Robert, and in the early years of the last century went from Kentucky to Iowa and soon afterwards to Pike County, Illinois, where he spent the rest of his days as a farmer and died in 1884.

Hiram Dinsmore, father of Robert, was born in Kentucky in 1839 and was still a boy when his parents settled in Pike County, Illinois, where he grew up and married. He was a merchant, miller and farmer in Illinois and in 1862 he enlisted in Company E of the Fiftieth Illinois Infantry and saw active service in the war until its close. Most of his service was in the campaigns along the Mississippi River. In September, 1878, he arrived in Kansas, traveling by railroad as far as Sterling and then driving across the country to Lyons. In this then frontier section he bought the northeast quarter of section 10, township 20, range 8, a mile south and a half mile east of Lyons. That land was part of his possessions until his death but the estate subsequently sold it. Having secured a homestead in Kansas, he went back to Pike County, Illinois, and closed up his affairs and returned to Lyons in November, 1878, and was a successful and prominent member of the community until his death on May 17, 1886. He was the pioneer hardware merchant of Lyons and continued the business until selling out in 1883. After that he loaned money for investments. He was one of the original democrats of Rice County and was an influential factor in bolstering up that party during the early days. He was also a charter member of old Lyons Lodge, now Royal Lodge No. 192, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and was a Royal Arch Mason.

Hiram Dinsmore married Eliza Thomas, who was born in Pike County, Illinois, in 1841 and died at Lyons, Kansas, June 29, 1904. Robert was the oldest of their family of four children. Samuel is now head engineer of the Lyons Waterworks. Lora married A. E. Culbertson, who lives at Globe, Arizona, and had the local agency for the Studebaker automobile. George lives at Lyons, being superintendent of the County Farm two miles west of that city.

Robert Dinsmore was about fifteen years of age when his parents came to Kansas. He finished his education in the local high school at Lyons and at the age of nineteen began clerking in his father’s hardware store. From clerk he became proprietor and continued actively in the hardware business for five years, selling out in 1901 to the Blair Gibson Hardware Company. While not now active in mercantile affairs he owned a fine farm of 240 acres one mile north and three miles west of Lyons, and rents it for diversified farming purposes. Mr. Dinsmore’s residence on East Avenue, South, is one of the landmarks of Lyons, having been erected in the spring of 1879, the lumber being hauled across the country in wagons from Sterling, Kansas.

Mr. Dinsmore, like his father, is a stanch democrat. He had served as a member of the local school board and for the past four years had been city assessor. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is past master of Royal Lodge No. 192, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Lyons, is affiliated with Sterling Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, with Lyons Lodge No. 193, Ancient Order United Workmen, and with Lyons Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America. He also had membership in the Lyons Country Club.

March 2, 1887, at Lyons, Mr. Dinsmore married Miss Zaidee Swisher. Her parents, A. D. and Catherine (McDonald) Swisher, now live at Southwest City, Missouri, her father a retired farmer. Mrs. Dinsmore died May 29, 1905, leaving two children. The older is Wyant, who was born December 17, 1891, is a graduate of the Lyons High School and is now connected with the Magnolia Oil Company at Augusta, Kansas. The son Morgan, born in April, 1901, is living with his brother in Augusta.

Mr. Dinsmore married for his second wife at Lyons in June, 1908, Miss Alma Kelly, daughter of S. W. and Julia (McClanahan) Kelly, who live at Chetopa, Kansas. Her father for many years had held the office of justice of the peace.

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. 18 January 2015. - Last updated on Jun 5th, 2011

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