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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 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 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 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...

Biography of David Crawford Thoroman

David Crawford Thoroman. The first of his name to come to Kansas, the late David Crawford Thoroman was for many years engaged in school teaching and farming in Coffey and Osage counties, and is still remembered by the older residents as a man of upright character, possessed of a high sense of justice. His experiences during the Civil war had placed upon him the handicap of being weak physically, but his energetic spirit and industry helped him to overcome this in large part, and throughout his career he was a useful member of whatever community he made his home. David C. Thoroman was born in Adams County, Ohio, in 1824, of English descent, and when a young man went to Lewis County, in the northeastern part of Kentucky, where he was married to Katherine Murphy. Thus early he was a schoolteacher and agriculturist and was so engaged when the Civil war broke out. Mr. Thoroman enlisted in Company E, Twenty-second Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and had his baptism of fire in Cumberland Gap, where he took part in a severe engagement. Subsequently he was in the battles around Vicksburg, including Milliken’s Bend, Big Black River and the numerous encounters leading up to the surrender of the besieged city, and later took part in the engagement at Arkansas Post. Just prior to the Red River expedition under General Banks, in which his regiment took an active part, Mr. Thoroman was forced to resign, owing to the ill effects of a sunstroke. By that time he had been advanced to the rank of lieutenant, through bravery and faithful service, and had...

Biography of John S. Sutcliffe, M. D.

John S. Sutcliffe, M. D., is one of the widely known physicians and surgeons of Kansas, and besides a large private practice at Iola is proprietor of the Iola Hospital and Sanitarium, which he had brought to a high standard of excellence in its appointments and had made it an institution of widely extended benefit and service. Doctor Sutcliffe is a native of England, born January 10, 1861. He attended a private school known as Beckwith College at Liverpool, but at the age of fifteen came to America to join his father, who some years before had established himself in business at New York City. He worked for his father in a furniture store in New York City until he was nineteen. In the meantime he had prepared himself for college by attending night school, and for one term was a student in the Long Island Medical College. After occupation in other lines Doctor Sutcliffe finally removed to St. Louis, Missouri, where he again applied himself to the serious study of medicine, and in 1898 graduated M. D. from the Missouri Medical College. In 1899 he took a similar degree from the medical department of St. Louis University. Doctor Sutcliffe practiced at St. Louis until December, 1904. At that date he removed to Iola, Kansas, and was the leader in promoting the establishment of St. John’s Hospital under the auspices of the Sisters of St. Joseph. This institution was built in the suburbs of Iola, and it is a hospital with accommodations for twenty-four patients. After five years of active connection with St. John’s Hospital, Doctor Sutcliffe built a...

Biography of John Byers Heffelfinger

John Byers Heffelfinger, superintendent of city schools at Arkansas City, is a Kansas educator of wide and diversified experience and exceptional attainments. He began teaching in country schools when a boy and since completing his college cours had given his best thought and practically all his time to the profession. Mr. Heffelfinger was vice president of the Kansas State Teachers’ Association in 1912, and in 1916 was president of the Southern Kansas Teachers’ Association. The Heffelfinger family in America produced a number of noteworthy men. Mr. Heffelfinger is of German origin, though his people came to Pennsylvania about the middle of the seventeenth century. The grandfather spent his life as a farmer in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. It was in Cumberland County, at Newburgh, that John Byers Heffelfinger was born July 25, 1882. His father, W. P. Heffelfinger, who now resided at Effingham, Kansas, was born in the same county March 3, 1841, grew up and married there, and was also a school teacher for a number of years. He taught at Newville, Pennsylvania, and at other localities in Cumberland County, and after removing to Effingham, Kansas, in 1886 he continued his professional work for a few years. He subsequently took up farming, served for a number of years as police judge at Effingham and is now retired. He is a democrat, had been almost a lifelong member of the Methodist Church, and had served as steward. For twenty years he had been clerk of the local camp of the Modern Woodmen of America. W. P. Heffelfinger married Elizabeth Anna Byers. She was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, March 4,...

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