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Biography of Joseph H. Mercer

If Kansas should be called upon, through some unfortunate circumstance, to lose at this time the services of Hon. Joseph H. Mercer, state live stock commissioner, it would still owe him a debt of gratitude for the great work he has accomplished in the eradication of the evils attending the foot-and-mouth and other diseases injurious to animals in Kansas, in the bringing about of a better understanding between the farmer and the packer, in the arrangement of freight rates, and in the protection of the interests of the farmer, and particularly of the live stock man, in various ways and along numerous lines. Himself a practical farmer and student of live stock conditions, Mr. Mercer thoroughly understands every phase of agricultural work and through this understanding is able to handle the most delicate situations that arise in a position that calls for the utmost finesse, the greatest degree of diplomasy and unceasing application. Joseph H. Mercer, state live stock commissioner of Kansas, and secretary of the Kansas Live Stock Association, was born on a farm near Williamsburg, Noble County, Ohio, September 7, 1864, and is a son of Newlin Mercer and grandson of Jacob Mercer. For generations the family has been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and Newlin Mercer was of the calibre that led to his enlistment in the forces of the North to support the Union during the dark days of the Civil war, in which struggle he served four years. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Alma Jones, was of Welsh ancestry, and bore her husband three children. Her death occurrod in 1866. Left motherless when...

Biography of Charles H. Chandler

As state architect Charles H. Chandler had charge of some of the most important administrative and executive functions exercised by the state government. For many years before his appointment to the present office Mr. Chandler was recognized as one of the most competent and successful contractors and architects, and he had rendered valuable service since he became state architect in May, 1909, by appointment from Governor Stubbs. In 1911 he was resppointed by Governor Stubbs and had continued in the position under subsequent administrations. It will serve to indicate the importance of his office to mention some of the larger buildings in the coastruction or remodeling of which he had served as architect. Chief among these should be mentioned the splendid Memorial Building at Topeka, illustrated and described on other pages of this publication. He was also architect for the Gymnasium and Armory at Manhattan; the new Agricultural Building at Manhattan; the Manual Arts Building and the reconstruction of the main building at the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg; the Preston B. Plumb Building at the State Normal School at Emporia; the Sheridan Hall at the State Normal School at Hays; and many others. Charles H. Chandler came to Kansas in April, 1879. He continued his literary education in the country schools of Southern Kansas in Chase County. He was singularly fortunate in having for a teacher Mrs. C. S. Evans, who was a product of the culture of Boston, Massachusetts, and whose name is spoken with reverence by all who came under her instruction. It was Mrs. Evans who brought the school attended by Mr. Chandler...

Biography of Samuel N. Wood, Col.

Col. Samuel N. Wood, long a resident of Lawrence and a leader of the free-state party in Kansas, was prominent as one of the founders of the republican party, as a legislator in both houses, as an editor and one of the original stockholders of the Atchison. Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. He was born at Mount Gilead. Ohio, December 30, 1825. the son of Quaker parents, from whom he imbibed his anti-slavery sentiments at an early age. In 1844, although too young to vote, he was chairman of the liberal party central committee of this county. Four years later be supported Martin Van Buren, the freesoil candidate for President, and he was conductor of one of the underground railways which passed near his house. He taught school, studied law and on June 6, 1854, two days after being admitted to the bar, he started for the Territory of Kansas. Early in July Mr. Wood located on a claim four miles west of Lawrence, and immediately became an acknowledged leader of the free-state party. He was one of the man who rescued Jacob Branson from Sheriff Jones, an act which brought on the Wakarusa war; was delegate to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, convention which organized the republican party in 1856; to the Philadelphia convention of the same year, and to the Leavenworth constitutional convention in 1858. The following year he removed to Chase County; represented Chase, Morris and Madison counties in the Territorial Legislatures of 1860 and 1861; was a member of the first State Senate in 1861 and again in 1867; was a member of the House in 1864,...

Biography of Jacob Ramer Blackshere

Jacob Ramer Blackshere was one of the men who laid the foundation of Kansas’ great agricultural prosperity. He was a pioneer both in point of time and in point of achievement. The history of Kansas ought to give recognition and honor to such men, and that is the purpose of this brief article. One of the greatest sources of Kansas wealth is alfalfa. It is not strange, therefore, that many should have been mentioned for the premier honor of having introduced that crop into the Sunflower State. No doubt the controversy had been settled for all time in favor of the late J. R. Blackshere. All the facts necessary to substantiate this claim are in the possession of the Blackshere family and some account of his pioneer work in this direction will be found in the columns of the Topeka Daily State Journal, the issue of January 12, 1907. A paragraph from the article that appears in the Journal reads as follows: “According to P. C. Jeffrey, who had written to the State Journal, the first alfalfa seed to be brought to Kansas was in 1875 by J. R. Blackshere, who owned and lived on the Clover Cliff Ranch southwest of Elmdale, Chase County. Claims that were made for the late Harrison Parkman, former owner of Sunny Slope Farm near Emporia, will have to give precedence in favor of Mr. Blackshere, who purchased and introduced the first alfalfa seed seven years prior to the shipment brought to Sunny Slope by Mr. Parkman. Mr. Blackshere secured his seed in San Francisco through the firm of J. M. Griffith and brother...

Biography of William Renwick Curry

William R. Curry. That American agriculture had not kept pace with other grent American industries is due mainly, in the opinion of experts and students of the subject, to lack of intelligent organization. While the problems of Amcrican farming are now being attacked with an energy never before displayed, there is no question that one of the influences that have done most and will continuo to do more to vitalize farming methods is the county agent’s movement, which furnishes at least one of the principal instruments by which better co-operation can he supplied and the available sources of information more readily distributed in an agrieultural community. The position of farm agent for the Doniphan County Bureau is filled by William R. Curry, himself a young Kansan born and bred, a product of Kansas farm experience and a graduate of the State Agricultural College. William Renwick Curry was born at Dunavant in Jefferson County, Kansas, January 24, 1886, and represents a family which through four generations have been identified with this state. Mr. Curry grew up on his father’s farm in Jefferson County, attended the rural schools at Hickory Point. and in 1902 graduated from the Winchester High School. Following his high school course he had three years of training on the home farm, and then for five years was a teacher, four years in the rural schools of his native county and one year as principal of the grade schools of Liberal, Kansas. During the vacations of his work he had attended the State Agricultural College at Manhattan and in 1914 graduated Bachelor of Science in the Agricultural Division. His elective...

Biography of Archibald Miller

Archibald Miller. Chase County was organized in 1859. One of the local citizens of the meager population then living here who took a prominent part in the organization, and one of the very few survivors of that time, is Mr. Archibald Miller, now living in comfort and retired from business cares at Cottonwood Falls, the county seat. Mr. Miller had witnessed all the development of this Kansas county, its growth and population, the development of its splendid resources as an agrioultural and stock raising section and had borne more than an individual share in all these developments, having been a resident of Chase County sixty years. Mr. Miller is several years past the age of fourscore. He has lived long and usefully and well and had made his generous prosperity almost altogether from Kansas land and Kansas business. He was born on a farm in County Antrim, Ireland, September 12, 1833, a son of John and Jane (McCarter) Miller. His father was born in 1802 and died in 1847, and the mother was born in 1816 and died in Chase County, Kansas, in 1879. Their children were six in number. four sons and two daughters, named Elizabeth, John, Archibald, Patrick, James and Jane. All of these are now deceased except Archibald. James whem last heard from had shipped as a sailor on a vessel sailing from London for India. Archibald Miller grew up on an Irish farm. He was fourteen when his father died, and he felt the necessity of becoming self-supporting and to earn an honest living he worked out for others for six years. In 1854, at...

Biography of Alonzo F. Dove

Alonzo F. Dove, postmaster at Hamilton, is a native of Greenwood County and son of a pioneer family there. For many years he followed the work of educator in his native county and since retiring from the school room had been engaged in telephone work and had handled loans and insurance at Hamilton, where his last teaching work was done, and during the present administration was appointed to the office of postmaster. Mr. Dove’s English ancestors emigrated to Virginia in the colonial period of our history. In Rockingham County of that state was born Henry Dove on February 7, 1765. He married Susannah Hoffman, who was born in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, June 26, 1777. The grandfather of Mr. Dove, Elijah Dove, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, July 27, 1811, where he spent most of his life and raised his family. In later years he went to Illinois and spent the rest of his life in that state. He died at Shelbyville, Illinois, in 1906. Elijah Dove had two brothers, Ruben Dove, whose home was in Winchester, Ohio, and Jacob Dove of Warsaw, Indiana. There were five sisters, namely: Laney Dove (Montgomery), Peggy Dove (Orwic), Mary Dove (Hummel), Annie Dove (Benadnur), all of Winchester, Ohio, and Elizabeth Dove (Kistler) of Warsaw, Indiana. The wife of Elijah Dove, Anna Mary Small, was born in York, Pennsylvania, March 18, 1814. She was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Louchs) Small, both of whom were born in York County, Pennsylvania, John Small on September 16, 1781, and Elizabeth Louchs on January 16, 1794. The Louchs family were French Huguenots. Mrs. Anna...

Biography of Levi Leland Chandler

Levi Leland Chandler has flgured in the life of Chase County as a farmer, merchant, and in all those activities which sum up the publice affairs of a community. Most of his life since early childhood had been spent in Chase County. He was born on a farm near North Springfield, Vermont, December 3, 1867, and is a son of Roswell Henry and Mary Elizabeth (Leland) Chandler and is a brother of Charles H. Chandler, present state architect of Kansas. The Chandler family were colonial Americans and by grant of King George II the town or township of Chester in Windsor County, Vermont, was given to people of the name. The original Chandler homestead was kept by the family until about forty years ago. Roswell H. Chandler was born in Vermont, married in that state, and in 1876 moved to New Hampshire and in the spring of 1879 to Chase County, Kansas. Here he located on a farm seven miles south of Cottonwood Falls at the trading point known as Bazaar, a station on the old Santa Fe trail. Boswell Chandler and wife spent their remaining years in that community. He was elected in 1893 and in 1895 a representative in the State Legislature and for many years held the office of justice of the peace. Levi L. Chandler grew up on his father’s farm in Chase County from the age of twelve, and completed his education in the district schools. Later he attended the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan during 1896-97. While farming and stock raising in Chase County Mr. Chandler manifested unusual ability in that field,...

Biography of Eldred Lloyd Eaton

Eldred Lloyd Eaton has been engaged in practice as a lawyer for the past six years, and in many ways had justified his choice of a profession and calling. In attainments and ability he now ranks as the leading lawyer of Chase County, his home and offices being. in Cottonwood Falls. Mr. Eaton had had a very active career, and he entered the legal profession after considerable experience as a teacher and business man. He was born at Hillsboro, Iowa, November 23, 1876, a son of Eugene E. and Etta Charity (Fligg) Eaton. His grandfather, Ebenezer Ancel Eaton, was a native of Needham, Massachusetts. Eugene E. Eaton was born in Lee County, Iowa, January 3, 1851, and spent the greater part of his life as a farmer and stock grower. He died April 6, 1906, at Stratton, Nebraska. Mr. Eaton’s parents were married in Van Buren County, Iowa, in 1874. The mother was born in that county September 14, 1854, and she is now living at Whittier, California. There were six children in the family, four sons and two daughters: Edith, born in 1875, died in 1876; Eldred L.; Gussie E., born August 20, 1879, unmarried and living with her mother; Glenn F., born October 7, 1882, a contractor and builder at Sioux City, Iowa; William D., born September 20, 1885, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Paul H., born September 14, 1889, a lawyer at Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1878, when Eldred L. was two years of age, his parents removed from Iowa to Hamilton County, Nebraska. He grew up on his father’s stock ranch there and acquired his...

Biography of David Franklin Shirk

David Franklin Shirk, a prominent Kansas educator and a worker in behalf of child welfare, had been a resident of this state thirty years. Born at Shannon, Carroll County, Illinois, July 10, 1859, he was reared and educated in his native state, and as a young man began teaching school in Illinois. In 1886 he came to Abilene, Dickinson County, Kansas, and followed educational work in this state actively for twenty-four years. In 1906 Mr. Shirk was graduated from Friends University at Wichita. Much distinction attaches to his work as a school man. He assisted in organizing the first county high school in Kansas at Chapman, Dickinson County. He also organized the first high school Y. M. C. A. in the world. He was elected and served for four years as superintendent of public instruction of Dickinson County. For five years he was superintendent of the schools at Cottonwood Falls in Chase County, was superintendent at Newton, Kansas, six years, and for two years at Great Bend in Barton County. In 1906 and again in 1910 he made student tours of Europe, and on the second trip took his wife and his two children as a part of their education. Since 1910 Topeka had been his home, and, at the death of the distinguished Dr. O. S. Morrow, he was appointed his successor as superintendent of the Kansas State Ohildren’s Home Society. In 1916 he was elected president of the National Children’s Home Society. Mr. Shirk comes of a very prominent family, one in which ministers, teachers, and men and women of the highest moral character have predominated. His...
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