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Biography of Marsena St. John

Marsena St. John. A residence in Kansas of sixty years is in itself a distinction. In the case of the venerable Marsena St. John of Ottawa those years have been filled with honorable accomplishment and in all this time he had been one of the mainstays in Franklin County. He was born at Linden, New York, April 20, 1831, and had already passed his eighty-fifth birthday. His parents were Jasper and Julia Ann (Reynolds) St. John, who lived near Saratoga Springs, New York. From New York the family went to Huron County, Ohio, where the father was for ten years a tanner. In 1859 the parents came to Franklin County, Kansas, and settled on a farm six miles west of Centropolis. Jasper St. John was born in 1805, and died in 1886 in Franklin County, Kansas. He was a devout Baptist and was one of the charter members of the Ottawa Baptist Church, and also of the Appanoose and Centropolis churches, and was affiliated with the Masonic order. His widow, who was born in 1812, died in her eighty-sixth year. They were the parents of nine children, and three are now living. The oldest of this family, Marsena St. John, grew up in New York and Ohio, and came to Franklin County, Kansas, when Kansas was a territory. He lived for a time near Centropolis, and from there went back to East Townsend in Huron County, Ohio, where in 1856 he married Miss Viola Staunton. Mr. and Mrs. St. John have five children, and the two now living are: Hattie O., born August 24, 1860; and Anna Alina, born...

Biography of Leonard T. Smith

Leonard T. Smith, whose scroll of life was rolled up a number of years ago, but the record of which remains in the grateful memory of many Kansas people, was one of the most forceful characters in the early history of Leavenworth and in a larger sense of Kansas as a whole. He was one of the men who had the iron of resolution in his soul and will, and he used his strength and self reliance in many ways for the good of an entire state. His life record begins with his birth on December 2, 1827, at Bethany, in Genesee County, New York. His father, Thomas G. Smith, was descended from an old New England family. His mother, Anna Burroughs, was a daughter of Daniel Burroughs, who established the first woolen mills at Skaneateles, in New York, and was also a man of wide renown as a ritualistic Free Mason. Beyond acquiring a practical education the early youth of Leonard T. Smith was passed uneventfully. In 1852, at the age of twenty-five, he went west to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and for five years was a landlord in that city. To the present generation it is impossible to realize the significance of the name Kansas fifty or sixty years ago. It was an invitation to the homeless and oppressed, and also to those who had fighting blood in them and who were ruled with the desire to extend the boundaries of freedom and opportunity to the limits of the known world. Its thousands of broad acres were open to pre-emption and settlement and nowhere in the world was real...

Biography of Clarence Heath

Clarence Heath, president of the Shortsville Wheel Company, is one of that class of citizens who have developed our great manufacturing interests, spread our commerce and assisted in improving and enlarging our cities. Clarence Heath was born in Darien, Genesee county, New York, March 30, 1857. He attended the district schools of Darien, and for a time was a student at Canandaigua Academy. Upon the termination of his school days he at first learned the trade of hand turning and the making of wagon and buggy wheels. In 1879 he established himself in business in Shortsville, New York, manufacturing hubs and spokes, and the following year commenced the manufacture of wagon and buggy wheels. His business was conducted on progressive and practical principles, all modern improvements to facilitate the output being readily adopted, and in 1909, the plant was enlarged and machinery installed for the manufacture of automobile wheels. At the present time (1910) the two plants have a capacity of sixty thousand sets per year, and employ one hundred and fifty-five hands the entire year. The business, which operated under the name of the Shortsville Wheel Company, was incorporated in March, 1908, but the name remained unchanged. Mr. Heath was chosen president and manager; his son, Sidney L., secretary; and A. T. Sheffer, assistant treasurer. Prior to its incorporation, Mr. Heath had conducted the business for a period of seventeen years in partnership with Charles F. Brown. Mr. Heath married, October 1, 1879, Jennie B., daughter of Hiram L. Brown, one of the original proprietors of the Empire Drill Works, which were organized in Shortsville about 1850. Children:...

Biography of Frederick Cook

FREDERICK COOK A MAN who has reflected great honor upon American institutions, is the Hon. Frederick Cook, ex-secretary of state of New York. He is a striking representative of the best type of a German citizen whose leading traits of character have been fully developed upon American soil. He was born on the 2nd of December, 1833, at Wildbad, Germany, a noted watering place in the famous Black Forest district. His father was a contractor, a man who intended to have given his son Frederick the advantages of a thorough collegiate course. The boy was placed at the best school in the neighborhood, and his youthful years were earnestly devoted to the elementary branches of learning. The industrious young student was increasing rapidly in knowledge from year to year, with the brightest prospects before him, when suddenly a dark cloud overshadowed his opening literary career and dashed to the ground his hopes of obtaining a complete collegiate education. When he had reached his twelfth year, his excellent father, who had taken so deep an interest in the instruction of his promising son, died, leaving a family of eight children. By this irreparable loss the happy home was broken up and the children scattered abroad. Without a father’s watchful care, Frederick was left at this tender age almost entirely to his own resources. But with a brave heart and an indomitable will, he faced the storm of life until the sunshine of success and prosperity came to gladden his pathway. He turned his eyes towards America, as the chosen field for his future activity and work, and so, bidding adieu...

Biography of Robert A. Maxwell

ROBERT A. MAXWELL THE HON. Robert A. Maxwell, superintendent of the insurance department, was born in Washington county, N. Y. , in 1838. He is a son of Alexander Maxwell, of Jackson, a prominent citizen of the town, and an intelligent and wealthy farmer. Robert was given the advantages of a liberal education by his father. After receiving a thorough instruction at the common schools in his neighborhood, he was sent to the normal school at Albany, where he finished his education at the age of eighteen. His rare qualities as an educator were unfolded while attending this excellent institution, and so he soon became principal of the union school at Greenwich, N. Y. Subsequently he taught school at Kenosha, Wisconsin. Determined to relinquish a professional career for mercantile pursuits, he removed to Chicago and engaged in the commission business – buying and selling grain and produce. For seven years he was an active member of the board of trade in that enterprising city. But too close attention to business, and climatic influences combined to impair his health; and coming east, he settled at Batavia, N. Y. Soon after his settlement in his new home he invested his ready capital in the malt business, and became a successful and public-spirited merchant, closely identifying himself with all those interests which are conducive to the welfare and prosperity of his adopted home. His influence in public affairs steadily increasing, political preferments were at length offered to him, but were repeatedly declined. The New York State Asylum for the Blind was established at Batavia, in 1867. Mr. Maxwell was appointed one of...

Biography of Hon. John T. Browning

The oldest member of the Rock Island County Bar, a lawyer of ripe learninig and wide experience, who has now retired from the active practice of his profession, is the Honorable John T. Browning, of Moline. He was born in Genesee County, New York, June 11, 1830, his parents being John L. and Lucy (Tillotson) Browning. He received an academic education at Rochester, where later he was admitted to the bar in the Autumn of 1858. He came west in December of that same year and located at Moline, where he immediately engaged in the practice of law, being that city’s first City Attorney. Of course one of his duties in this position was to compile and arrange a code of ordinances governing the affairs of the City, and this work was done in a highly creditable and systematic manner. In 1876 he formed a law partnership with Mr. Entriken, the well known Moline attorney who has served this County as State’s Attorney and Master in Chancery, the firm being known as Browning & Entriken. Two years previous to the formation of this partnership Mr. Browning had been elected to represent this Senatorial District in the Illinois General Assembly. He was re-elected in 1876 and served through another session of the Legislature. During Mr. Browning’s young manhood he entertained very pronounced anti-slavery views and was in fact an ardent Abolitionist. Upon the formation of the Republican party in 1856 he immediately allied himself with that organization and was earnest in his support of Fremont and Dayton. Since that time he has continued in his allegiance to the Republican party...

Mineralogical and Geographical Notices

Mineralogical And Geographical Notices, Denoting The Value Of Aboriginal Territory. 1. Wisconsin and Iowa Lead Ore A correspondent, engaged in the practical working of these ores, remarks: “By the box of specimens transmitted, you will be able to judge of the character of these valuable ores. The square broken mineral is taken from east and west leads; which is of the softest temperature and most easy to smelt; it also produces the most lead, yielding about 50 per cent, from the log, and about 15 from the ash furnaces. The dark smooth pieces are taken from deep clay digging hi the vicinity of Menomonie River. This mineral is less productive than the other, yielding only from 40 to 45 per cent. It is supposed to contain some silver. The thin flat pieces or what is termed sheet mineral are taken from north and south leads. It is usually found in rocky diggings, where the sheet stands perpendicular, and is struck in sinking from six to ten feet. The sheet varies in its thickness, it being in some places six or eight inches, and at other places not more than one inch thick. The average yield of the country is from 45 to 58 per cent; of which the log furnace yields 43, and the ash furnace 15 per cent.” 2. Black Oxyde Of Copper Ore Of Lake Superior This valuable ore appears to have pre-existed in the trap-rock veins, which are now occupied so extensively by native copper. The volcanic throes, by which it was exposed to the effects of carbon, while these veins were yet in a state...

Biography of James A. Lounsbury M.D.

James A. Lounsbury, M. D. In the career of Dr. James A. Lounsbury there had been demonstrated the fact that an individual can dominate in more than one direction, and that some of the most prominent citizens and successful business men are those who have branched out from their original field of endeavor and directed their abilities towards perfecting various business interests as well as raising the standard of their communities. When he entered upon his active career it was as a laborer in the prolific field of medicine, but subsequent interests wooed him away from his profession and took him into business and financial affairs, and he is now president of the Farmers State Bank of Barnard and had large responsibilities and holdings in commercial and industrial lines. Dr. James A. Lounsbury was born in Genesee County, New York, September 13, 1842, and is a son of Rudolphus and Almira (Brown) Lounsbury, and a grandson of the immigrant who came from England and founded the family in New York. In that state, in 1805, was born Rudolphus Lounsbury, who passed his entire life in Genesee County in agricultural pursuits and died in 1870. He was a republican and a member of the Free Baptist church. Mrs. Lounsbury, who was born in 1807, in New York, died in Genesee County in 1865. There were three children in the family: Earl B., who was a physician and surgeon and died at Byron, Genesee County; James A.; and Carl M., who is a retired farmer of Lincoln, Kansas, where he was a pioneer. James A. Lounsbury received his primary education in...

Biography of Hon. Edwin N. Cooke

HON. EDWIN N. COOKE. – The subject of this sketch is a lineal descendant of the Puritans, who came to America in the ship Mayflower, and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 21, 1620. Among the passengers of that historical band were Francisco Cook and his son, John Cooke, who settled and the families of whom for many generations lived in that and other colonies, up to the time of the Revolutionary war. At the commencement of the Revolutionary war, Mr. Cooke’s great-grandfather, Asaph Cooke lived near Boston, Massachusetts, and had four sons who espoused the American cause and enlisted in the patriotic army, and remained there until the termination of the war, seven years afterward, serving with distinction, and afterwards marrying and rearing large families. The subject of our sketch has seen three of them when very old men, and heard them recount the story of the struggle over and over again. The grandfather of Mr. Cooke, after the Revolution, married Thankful Parker, and settled in Granville, Washington county, New York. He reared a family of four sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Asaph, was the father of E.N. Cooke, who married Mary Stewart in 1805, and had one son and one daughter born to them, when he moved in 1808 to Jefferson county of the same state, where Edwin N. Cooke was born, February 26, 1810, near where the town of Adams now stands. That portion of New York state was, at that time, almost a wilderness. In 1814 the family removed to their old home, where two more sons were born. In 1816 the family removed...

Biography of Charles Betts

Honorable Charles Betts, Freeport, is one of the most prominent figures of the Stephenson county bar, and his long association with legal affairs gives him the colloquial title of “Judge” Betts. He is called the Nestor of the bar, and is now living in an honorable retirement from professional life. He was born in Batavia, Genesee county, New York, June 13th, 1825, and up to the time of his admission to the bar his life was passed in the Empire state. His educational privileges eminently fitted him for the profession of his choice. At all times he has made the most of his opportunities, and endowed by nature with, strong mentality, his advance has been rapid and commendable. While still a youth he began the study of law in his native state with Honorable Heman J. Redfield and Honorable Benjamin Pringle as his preceptors, and completed his course in the office of Hon. Isaac A. Verplanck and General John H. Martindale, of Batavia. The counsel and assistance of these distinguished gentlemen and able attorneys had great influence in moulding his character and educating him to a standard of excellence in the profession before him, from which he has never deteriorated. Honorable, high-minded and faithful through inbred moral principles, he early gave evidence of fitness for that high career that was opening before him. He was esteemed and loved, not more for his genial social qualities and grace of person, than for those brilliant mental powers which unfolded early and bloomed with wonderful beauty. The writer well remembers that at the greatest political mass meeting ever assembled in the United States,...
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