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Biography of George A. Crawford

George A. Crawford, the founder of Fort Scott, a well known editor and public man and several times a gubernatorial candidate, was born in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1827, of Scotch-Irish-German stock. After recejving an aendemie education and graduating from Jefferson College, he taught school in Kentucky and Mississippi, when he returned to Pennsylvania to study law. While still reading for the bar, he became edjtor and proprietor of the Clinton Demoernt. During the early ’50s he took an active part in politics against the Know-Nothings and in 1855 was a delegate to the Pennsylvania Demeratie State Couvention. In the spring of 1857 he came to Kansas; landed at Leavenworth and accompanied Dr. Norman Eddy, United States commissioner for the sale of Indian lands, to Lawrence. Crawford, Eddy and other associates purchased 520 acres of land and organized the Fort Scott Town Company, of which Mr. Crawford was made president, a position he held for twenty years. A town was laid out and the streets were named after Mr. Crawford’s friends. He was opposed to the agitation kept up by the border factions but did not change his free-state views and several attempts were made to assassinate him. At the outbreak of the Civil War Mr. Crawford assisted in the organization of the Second Kansas Regiment and equipped many of its members. When the border was threatened he organized a committee of safety, was placed at its head and was active in reeruiting several militia companies. In 1861 he was elected governor of Kansas on the democratic ticket, but the election was dedared illegal. In 1864 he was...

Slave Narrative of Phoebe Banks

Person Interviewed: Phoebe Banks Location: Muskogee, Oklahoma Date of Birth: October 17, 1860 Age: 78 In 1860, there was a little Creek Indian town of Sodom on the north bank of the Arkansas River, in a section the Indians called Chocka Bottoms, where Hose Perryman had a big farm or ranch for a long time before the Civil War. That same year, on October 17, I was born on the Perryman place, which was northwest of where I lived now in Muskogee; only in them days Fort Gibson and Okmulgee was the biggest towns around and Muskogee hadn’t shaped up yet. My mother belonged to Mose Perryman when I was born: he was one of the best known Creeks in the whole nation, and one of his younger brothers, Legus Perryman, was made the big chief of the Creeks (1887) a long time after the slaves was freed. Mother’s name was Eldee; my father’s name was William McIntosh, because he belonged to a Creek Indian family by that name. Everybody say the McIntoshes was leaders in the Creek doings away back there in Alabama long before they come out here. With me, there was twelve children in our family; Daniel, Stroy, Scott, Segal, Neil, Joe, Phillip, Mollie, Harriett, Sally and Queenie. The Perryman slave cabins was all alike just two room log cabins, with a fireplace where mother do the cooking for us children at night after she get through working in the Master’s house. Mother was the house girl cooking, waiting on the table, cleaning the house, spinning the yarn, knitting some of the winter clothes, taking care...

Slave Narrative of Charley Williams

Person Interviewed: Charley Williams Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma Date of Birth: Jan. 11, 1843 Age: 94 Iffen I could see better out’n my old eyes, and I had me something to work with and de feebleness in my back and head would let me ‘lone, I would have me plenty to eat in de kitchen all de time, and plenty tobaccy in my pipe, too, bless God! And dey wouldn’t be no rain trickling through de holes in de roof, and no planks all fell out’n de flo’ on de gallery neither, ’cause dis one old nigger knows everything about making all he need to git along! Old Master done showed him how to git along in dis world, jest as long as he live on a plantation, but living in de town is a different way of living, and all you got to have is a silver dime to lay down for everything you want, and I don’t git de dime very often. But I aint give up! Nothing like dat! On de days when I don’t feel so feeble and trembly I jest keep patching ’round de place. I got to keep patching so as to keep it whar it will hold de winter out, in case I git to see another winter. Iffen I don’t, it don’t grieve me none, ’cause I wants to see old Master again anyways. I reckon maybe I’ll jest go up an ask him what he want me to do, and he’ll tell me, and iffen I don’t know how he’ll show me how, and I’ll try to do it to please...

Biography of Charles Estabrook Cory

Charles Estabrook Cory, of Fort Scott, divides with Hon. J. G. Slonecker, of Topeka, the honor of being the two oldest referees in bankruptey in continuous service in the State of Kansas, Both were appointed to this office in 1898, before the Bankruptey Law actually went into effect. Mr. Cory received his first appointment from Hon. Cassius G. Foster, and was continued in office by reappointment from Judge William O. Hook, and his last several appointments came from Hon. John C. Pollock. As a lawyer Mr. Cory had been identified with Fort Scott for over thirty years. He began his career in Southeastern Kansas as a teacher more than forty years ago. He is a Canadian by birth, having been born at Dumfries, Ontario, December 2, 1853, son of Nathaniel Vail and Eleanor (Springstead) Cory. His father was a native of New Brunswick and his mother of Ontario. Reared on a farm, educated in the public schools of Oxford County, Ontario, Charles E. Cory on reaching his majority came to Kansas in 1874. For the next nine years he taught almost eontinuously in Neosho and Crawford counties. Mr. Cory had a distinguished preccptor in his legal studies. In 1883 he entered the office at Fort Scott of Hon. Eugene F. Ware, “Ironquill,” and under that eminent man, distinguished not less in the law than in the field of poctry and politics, he continned his studies until admitted to the bar in 1885. His associations with Mr. Ware were continued after that for three years, during which time he was junior member of the firm of Ware, Biddle & Cory....

Biography of John Ross Newman

In the large metropolitan cities are found a number of men who are able to confine themselves exclusively to some one specialty in medicine or surgery, but in the smaller cities, however much a professional man may incline to specialization, he is almost invariably engaged in general practice. An exception to this rule is the case of Dr. John Ross Newman of Fort Scott. Doctor Newman is a surgeon of rare attainments and ability. For the past six years he had handled only surgical cases. He is one of the very few men in the entire state who can be properly designated as surgeon without implying that they also handle general medical cases. The character and abilities which have since matured into professional fame were developed while Doctor Newman lived on a Missouri farm. He grew up in the country, was graduated from the Lockwood (Missouri) High School in 1901, and afterwards entered the Central Medical College of St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was graduated in 1905. In that year he came to Fort Scott, practiced general medicine for six months, and then returned to Lockwood, Missouri, where he continued in the same line of practice until 1908. His early experiences as a physician were such as to confirm his ambition and desire for surgery. On leaving Lockwood in 1908, it was with a determination to make a special study of surgery, and the two following years he spent in the clinics of some of the greatest hospitals of Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, and for a time served as assistant surgeon in one of these hospitals. With this...

Biography of Oscar Rice

Oscar Rice, who had lived in Fort Scott since he graduated from high school, is a typical Kansan in his enterprise and hustling business ability. For a number of years he was a traveling salesman. In 1910 he drew up the plans and promoted the organization of The Western Automobile Indemnity Association. This association is the oldest and financially the strongest mutual association writing automobile liability in America. Since the organization of the association its headquarters have been at Fort Scott and Mr. Rice had been secretary and manager. Mr. Rice was one of those to recognize this new field of insurance consequent upon the enormous development of the automobile, and it was to supply a highly specialized and exclusive service that he organized this association, which in the past six years had extended its policies to automobile owners in eight different states of the Mississippi Valley and had gained that prestige resulting from reliable protection at a moderate cost, together with a perfect fairness and reasonableness in the settling of all claims. The Western Automobile Indemnity Association was organized and is conducted solely for the purpose of furnishing insurance to owners of automobile vehicles. It is one of the few companies of the kind, and as already stated is the largest and financially the strongest. In view of some recent developments, it will not be out of place to mention one feature of the policy of The Western Automobile Indemnity Association. While this association had furnished prompt and careful investigations of claims and had never quibbled about compensation due under policies, it had taken a firm stand to...

Biography of Edward C. Gates

Edward C, Gates. It was in 1887 that Edward C. Gates was admitted to the Kansas bar and undertook to build up a reputation and practice at Fulton, where be resided until he came to Fort Scott. In Fort Scott for the past twenty years he had enjoyed a reputation among the ablest members of the Kansas bar. Until 1913 he was actively associated with A. M. Keene in the firm of Keene & Gates, and since then had pratticed alone. The law had always represented to Mr. Gates a profession rather than an occnpation, and in all his work he had kept the dignity of the calling unimpaired. He is a strong and resourceful lawyer, and the success which had come to him had been earned by many years of conscientious and hard work. Mr. Gates spent a portion of his early youth in Kansas, though he was born at Dixon, Illinois, September 1, 1861. His parents, Joseph and Annie (Wiggins) Gates, were both born in England, were married there and soon afterward, in 1856, cams across the ocean and located at Dixon, Illinois, Several years later they removed to the City of Cincinnati, where Joseph Gates engaged in the wholesale book, and stationery business, and was prospering until his death in 1868. His widow survived him for a number of years and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Dr. S. K. Williams, at Winfield, Kansas, There were six children in the family: Arthur, who was born in England and dicd at Fulton, Kansas; Bessie L. is the wife of Dr. S. K. Williams, now of...

Biographical Sketch of Oscar Rice, Jr.

Oscar Rice was born in Terrell County, Georgia, August 23, 1865, and was about two years of age when his parents removed to Kansas. He attended the public schools in Fort Scott and after leaving high school he started out as a traveling salesman for the Fort Scott Wholesale Drug Company. He was successfully engaged as traveling representative of that concern until 1910, when he planned and organized The Western Automobile Indemnity Association. Mr. Rice for many years had been active in the Masonic Fraternity, is an active member of the Scottish Rite and is also a Knight Templar and Mystic Shriner. In 1914 he was Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star. His chief hobby is automobiling. That naturally had made him a promoter of good roads. He was secretary of the Kansas City, Canada, and Gulf Good Roads project, and that had since developed into the Memphis and Jefferson Highway Association, of which Mr. Rice had been secretary since its organization. On December 19, 1894, at Fort Scott, he married Miss Stella Prager. She was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, daughter of David and Hattie (Briggs) Prager. Her father was one of the pioneer jewelers in Kansas, having a place of business in Lawrence and later at Leavenworth. During the war his entire stock of jewelry was carried away by Quantrell and his raiders when Lawrence was invaded and so many of its inhabitants...

Biography of David G. Cobb

David G. Cobb, who is president and active head of the Fort Scott Wholesale Grocer Company, one of the largest and oldest institutions of its kind in Southeastern Kansas, represents a family that became identified with Bourbon County when the first settlements were being planted there. His father was long a distinctive figure in both business and public affairs in the county. The old home, where David G. Cobb was born, was at Marmaton, which was one of the first points of settlement and business in the county and which from 1858 until 1863 was the county seat. David Ransom Cobb, father of David G., was born at Bellows Falls, Vermont, in 1823, was reared and educated in his native town, attended school there, and started life comparatively poor, rising in the scale of suecess as a result of his honest endeavors. He was one of the earliest settlers of Kansas Territory. Arriving in 1858, he settled at old Marmaton in Bourbon County, and soon afterward formed a partnership with Edward Jones under the name Cobb & Jones, general merchants. For a number of years, and especially as long as Marrnaton held its prestige as one of the leading settlements of the county, they were prominent and prosperous merchants and conducted their establishment successfully from 1858 until shortly after the breaking out of the Civil war. Then in the turbulent conditions which followed a band of bushwhackers one day came into Marmaton and looted their store and burned the building. There was no insurance, and the partners lost all the prosperity they had gained. Somewhat later David R. Gobb...

Biography of William R. Reid

It was to the building of the business of the Fort Scott Grocery Company that the late William R. Reid gave the best years of his life. He was presminent as a salesman. He had the commercial integrity, candor, and enthusiasm which are the bedrock policies of salesmanship, but more than that he always justified his loyalty and confidence in the goods he sold. Moreover, wherever he went, and for nearly two score years he traveled through every section of the states of Kansas and Missouri, he carried with him the gospel of good cheer, and the citizens of numberless obscure towns counted it a privilege to own the friendship of William R. Reid. The members of his profession have been humorously called “Knights of the Grip,” and he was in a more serious sense a true knight of business, the soul of honor, courtesy and upright manhood. He was born October 15, 1845, in New York City and was educated there. He lived to be nearly seventy years of age, and died in the harness at Fort Scott July 20, 1912. Early in his career he became connected with a large dry goods establishment in the City of Chicago. He was married there to Miss Alice McComas, daughter of the late Governor E. W. McComas, at one time lieutenant governor of Virginia, afterwards editor of the Chicago Times, and who spent his last years in and around Fort Scott, where he died. Reference to the distinguished career of Governor McComas, who was claimed as a citizen of Kansas, will be found on other pages. Governor McComas owned several...
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