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Biography of Jacob E. Brewer

Jacob E. Brewer. The author of the two cent railroad fare law in Kansas is Jacob E. Brewer of Abilene. Mr. Brewer proposed, introduced and successfully advocated that law during his membership in the State Senate from 1905 to 1909, representing the district of Clay and Dickinson counties. Mr. Brewer is an old and well known merchant of Abilene. He had the chief department store there and is also a wholesale commission merchant. It is said that 200 carloads of eggs are gathered and shipped to market through his plant every year. Permanence and solidity is a part of Mr. Brewer’s personal and business character. His big store at Abilene occupies the same site where he first began selling goods thirty-five years ago. Besides his store Mr. Brewer is a director of the Abilene National Bank, is a prominent Knight Templar Mason and Shriner, also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, and had long taken an active part in republican politics in his section of the state. While in the State Senate he was chairman of the insurance committee, a member of the oil and gas committee, of the fees and salaries committee, and an active worker in behalf of all the advanced and progressive legislation proposed during his term. For a number of years he served as chairman of the Dickinson County Republican Central Committee and had been a delegate to various state conventions. He had always been deeply interested in educational affairs and long served as president of the Board of Education at Abilene. Born in a log house on a farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania,...

Biography of Hiland Southworth

Hiland Southworth. Abilene was far out on the western frontier when a young lawyer named Hiland Southworth joined himself to the community in 1878. In the growth and development of the city and surrounding connty Mr. Southworth afterward had a most infinential and active part. His own success and prosperity rose with the community and he made his business, that of investment banking, a tried and sure resource and a bulwark of financial integrity. The judgment and abilities required for the handling of investments both large and small Mr. Southworth possessed to a rare degree approximating genius. Mr. Southworth was of New England ancestry. He was born at Clarendon in Rutland County, Vermont, September 26, 1849, the fourth son of Seymour and Rachel (Sherman) Southworth. His parents were natives of the same town and state, They had ten children, four daughters and six sons. Mr. Southworth grew up on a Vermont farm. His people were thrifty New Englanders, though in moderate circumstances, and they encouraged him to acquire a liberal education. In September, 1871, he entered Middlebury College at Middlebury, Vermont, and was graduated with the honors of his class in 1875. For a year he read law at Rutland, Vermont, and for another year he taught school and read law at the same time at Rosendale, Wisconsin. Coming to Kansas in 1876, Mr. Southworth continued his law reading at Junction City and was admitted to the bar in 1878. He chose as his location the young city of Abilene, which still had something of the lurid reputation which surrounded it as a wild cattle town. Mr. Southworth practiced...

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 Henry Van Deman Faris

Henry Van Deman Faris, of Kanopolis, is a Kansas around whom center many associations of territorial and pioneer times. He is by five years the oldest living pioneer in Kansas west of Salina. He had been continuously identfied with Ellsworth County more than half a century. Mr. Faris comes of that adventuresome pioneer stock that in successive waves had peopled and developed American soil. His grandfather, John Faris, was born in Ireland of Scotch descent. On coming to this country he partieipated as a soldier in the struggle for independence, and afterwards became a farmer in Virginia. He located on what was then the far western frontier, along the Ohio River in Ohio County, Virginia, now West Virginia, not far from the small settlement then but now the City of Wheeling. He died there many years before Henry V. Faris was born. He married a Miss Stuart, also of Scotch family. Robert Faris, father of Henry V., was born in Ohio County in what is now West Virginia in 1801. He grew up and married in his native county, took up farming, and in 1828 left the comparatively well settled region around Wheeling and journeyed into the woods of Delaware County, Ohio, where he developed a farm. Then, in 1863, he again took up the journey and made the last stage toward the West, locating on a farm in Marshall County, Illinois, where he spent his last years and died in 1867. He was a man of decided convictions and a natural leader among men. He espoused the whig party and subsequently became a republican of the so-called black...

Biography of William A. Hopkins

William A. Hopkins, now living retired at Solomon, had turned the seventy-fifth milepost on life’s journey. His years have accounted for something not only to himself but to his country and his community. He was a gallant and loyal soldier of the Union during more than three years of the Civil war. After his part in that struggle he came to Kansas and had been a resident of Dickinson County for practically half a century. The Solomon community esteems him not only as one of its oldest but one of its most highly respected citizens. An Indiana man by birth, he was born in a log house situated on a farm in Daviess County September 12, 1842. His parents were Zelek and Maria (Logan) Hopkins. Zelek Hopkins was born in Kentucky in 1807, a son of Washington E. Hopkins. This is the same branch of the Hopkins fainily which includes among its noted members Commodore Hopkins of the English navy. Zelek Hopkins went with his parents from Kentucky to Indiana when ten years of age and grew up on a pioneer farm in Daviess County. His active career was spent as a farmer and during the Civil war he served as provost marshal of Daviess County. His death occurred at Washington, Indiana, March 20, 1867. In 1829 he married Miss Maria Logan, who was born in 1807, a danghter of David Logan, a native of Ireland and a weaver by trade. Mra. Maria Hopkins died in 1901 at Solomon, Kansas, at the advanced age of ninety-four. She was the mother of eleven children, five sons and six daughters. Their...

Biographical Sketch of T. B. Johns

T. B. Johns, farmer, P. O. Athens, was born in Galena, Ill., April 8, 1841. In 186l he went to California, and back to Nevada in 1862; thence to Utah; thence to Idaho; thence to British Columbia; thence to Oregon; thence to Montana; thence to Wyoming; thence back to Utah; thence to Prescott, Arizona, back to Nevada, and again back to Illinois; thence to Queenstown, Ireland, and back to the United States, settling at Abilene, Kan., in 1871. Came to Jewell County in October 1871, and is now the owner of 240 acres of land. Mr. Johns has been an extensive traveler, but becoming tired of traveling has for the past eleven years lived in Jewell County, and has found the soil of Kansas productive. Has held the office of Township Trustee. Was married in February, 1872, in Jewell County, to Miss Claire Farren; they have four children – Thomas C., Richard S., Carrie, and...

Biography of John Franklin Haskell

John Franklin Haskell is the Topeka and Kansas representative of the greatest creamery organization in America. He is general manager and vice president of the Beatrice Creamery Company, consolidated, with headquarters in Topeka. Both he and his brother George Everett have long been prominently identified with this business. His brother George E., who is president of the Beatrice Creamery Company, lives in Chicago. George was the founder of the industry at Beatrice, Nebraska, about 1890. He pushed the enterprise with so much success that it soon outgrew the limits of its home city, but the company still bears the name of that Nebraska town. The headquarters were removed to Lincoln, and since 1913 the main offices have been in Chicago. It was the first centralized creamery business and is today the largest institution of its kind in the United States. John Franklin Haskell was born in Mitchell County, Iowa, October 12, 1862, and four years later his father died. The fact of his father’s death is mentioned at this point because John F. Haskell soon had to shift for himself, and his business success and prominence has been due to his own efforts rather than the training and environment of early youth. His father was Josiah Haskell, a native of Michigan, where he was born in 1836, and an early settler in the State of Iowa. Josiah and his brothers Thomas and John were soldiers in the Civil war, Josiah serving four years in Company K of the Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He himself became a permanent invalid as a result of his service, while his brother John was...

Biography of Mary Pierce Van Zile

Mary Pierce Van Zile. A very important member of the faculty of the Kansas State Agricultural College is Mrs. Mary Pierce Van Zile, dean of women and dean of the division of home economics. Her name is a household word in many widely separated homes, for each year Mrs. Van Zile has under her immediate care and instruction from 800 to 900 girls. They come from many environments and are mostly in the most receptive period of their lives, and the influence exerted by Dean Van Zile largely moulds their future. Mary Pierce Van Zile was born on her father’s homestead, near Solomon, in Dickinson County, Kansas, February 7, 1873, and is a daughter of Lyman B. and Lea A. (Bandy) Pierce. The father was a native of Vermont and came of sterling New England stock. The mother was born in Indiana of equally excellent people and pioneer settlers. Lyman B. Pierce served as a soldier during the Civil war, in the Union army, for four years and three months, and shortly after its close pre-empted a homestead in Dickinson County, Kansas. After proving upon that land he removed to Henry County, Iowa, settling at Winfield, where he has since resided, devoting his active years largely to the manufacture of tiling, brick and sewer piping. He can look back over eighty years of a well-spent life. At Winfield, Iowa, Mary Pierce spent her childhood and young womanhood. Her early education was received in the public schools of Winfield, and the years of 1889-91 were spent as a student in the Kansas State Agricultural College although she did not remain...

Biography of William Wesley Robb

William Wesley Robb, who is superintendent of the electric light plant at Chanute, began his career as a locomotive fireman and had filled many positions of responsibility, chiefly as a manager of machinery and plants, and much of his service had been rendered in the State of Kansas. He is of Scotch ancestry. His great-grandfather came from Scotland and was an early settler in Ohio. His grandfather, James Warren Robb, was born in the State of Illinois, in 1824, and died in Mercer County in that state in 1902. By profession he was an attorney, but many years ago he came out to Kansas with his son and and took up a homestead in Dickinson County, where he lived about eighteen years. He then removed to Wisconsin and afterwards to Illinois. Rev. J. W. Robb, father of William Wesley, had spent a large part of his life in Kansas, and was a participant in the pioneer activities in the western part of the state. He was born in 1851 in Mercer County, Illinois, grew up there, and when a young man went to Minnesota. He became a minister of the Presbyterian Church, and was married in Minnesota where he preached the gospel for several years. He was also pastor of a church in Illinois. It was in 1873 that he brought his family to Kansas and located in Dickinson County. He conducted a Presbyterian mission there, and he preached at many points in the western part of the state. He was a real pioneer and ministered not only to the spiritual but to the material needs of his early...

Biography of John B. Favor

John B. Favor, present sheriff of Sumner County, has been a resident of Western Kansas for over forty-five years, and though he was a small boy when the family moved here he knows both by recollection and personal experience all the vicissitudes and trials that beset the early pioneers. This story of a pioneer Kansas family begins with the removal of Gaines and Susan (Lavender) Favor from their native state of Tennessee to a farm near Cairo, Illinois, in 1855. On that farm in the southern part of Illinois was born on January 22, 1860, John B. Favor, first mentioned above. A little more than a year later Gaines Favor, who had got well started as a farmer in Southern Illinois and was recognized as a man of some prominence, was killed by the explosion of one of the old-fashioned threshing outfits known as “Groundhog” machines. This was, of course, a calamity in the family history. Besides his widow he was survived by an older son and two daughters in addition to John B. Favor. The work of the farm then fell upon the widowed mother and her children. To make their situation the harder the war broke out, and they were hard pressed to make a living during that period. Selling the Illinois farm and acting on the advice of some uncles and brothers-in-law who were living in Kansas, Mrs. Favor took her children to a claim of 160 acres on the raw prairie twenty miles southwest of Abilene, on the old Chisholm cattle trail from the south. It is important to remember some of the conditions of...
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