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Biography of John Warner

Nearly sixty years have passed since John Warner, then a young man in the full prime of enthusiasm and ambition, came to Kansas to seek his fortune in the young state. At that time his available eash assets consisted of $13, not a great sum with which to start in an unknown country. This was sufficient, however, and not many years had passed before he was on the high road to success. Now, in his eighty-fourth year, this Kansas pioneer and Civil war veteran is living in retirement at Manhattan, at which city he took his residence in 1908, after an eminently successful career as farmer and honorable, public-spirited citizen. John Warner was born in Baden, Germany, October 16, 1833, and was but five years old when, in 1838, his parents, John and Elizabeth (Pfiester) Warner, brought their family to the United States and settled on a farm in Clark County, Indiana. In 1847 Mr. Warner’s father gave up agricultural work to engage in railroad construction in Indiana and Kentucky, and was the builder of the first railroad in the latter state, from Louisville to Frankfort, a work in which his son, John, took a part. In 1852 the family removed to Tama County, Iowa, the father again resuming agricultural activities. John Waruer had received a public school education, and by the year 1853 was ready to enter upon an independent career. Accordingly he returned to Indiana, where he was married, in the same year, to Ellen White. He farmed in Indiana until 1857, when he came to Kansas for the dual purpose of establishing a home and making...

Biography of Robert Bruce Spilman

The name Spilman has for half a century been one of prominence in Riley County. The people of that county, including both the bar and the general public, will always recall with special marks of affection and esteem the life and services of the late Judge Robert Bruce Spilman, who was one of the pioneer lawyers of Manhattan and for ten years occupied a seat on the district bench. A son of William and Dorcas Jane (Garrison) Spilman, who were natives of Kentucky, and early settlers in Indiana, Judge Spilman was born at their home at Rockville, Indiana, August 7, 1840. He was just in the prime of his years and ussfulness when his death occurred at Manhattan, October 19, 1896. His parents in order to provide better opportunities for their children moved from Rockville to Crawfordsville, Indiana. Crawfordsville is the seat of one of Indiana’s most noted educational institutzons, Wabash College, distinguished for the many eminent men who have gone from its halls. Judge Spilman was one of the graduates with the class of 1861. On leaving college he accepted the place of teacher in a school, but soon left the schoolroom to enlist in defense of the Union. Crawfordsville was a hotbed of patriotism during the war, and was the home of General Lew Wallace, the soldier author. Judge Spilman became a private in Company K of the Eighty-Sixth Indiana Regiment, and was in active service for three years. On the basis of merit he was promoted to captain of his company and was a faithful and efficient soldier in every capacity. With the close of the...

Biographical Sketch of William R. Spilman

William R. Spilman, the oldest son of Judge Spilman, was born at Manhattan December 6, 1870, and received his education in the city schools and the State Agricultural College. In 1890 he became court reporter under his father of the Twenty-first Judiela I District, and that position he held for seventeen years. He resigned to become a stenographer in the navy department at Washington, but later at the request of Assistant Postmaster General Bristow was transferred to the postoffice department. In that department he has filled a number of important positions. He has been superintendent of rural delivery, superintendent of city delivery, and is now connected with the inspection work of the department. He married Bertha Winchip, a Manhattan...

Biographical Sketch of Robert Bruce Spilman, Jr.

The only son of the late Judge R. B. Spilman still living in Manhattan is Robert Bruce Spilman, Jr. He was born in Manhattan September 7, 1875, and that city has always been his home. He attended the public schools, and in 1894 entered the halls of his father’s Alma Mater, old Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He continued his studies at Wabash until 1896. Returning home he occnpied himself with various lines of employment until 1900, and in that year was elected clerk of the District Court for Riley County. Since beginning his duties as clerk of the District Court in January, 1901, Mr. Spilman has been continued in that office by repeated elections and now has given the office the benefit of his efficient service for fifteen years. For seven years he was also a partner in a hardware firm in Manhattan, and since selling that interest he has acquired an abstract business and still operates that. He is a republican in politics and has long been a ruling slder in the First Presbyterian Church and is superintendent of its Sunday school. In 1903 he married Willa Wood of Angola, Indiana. They have one son, Raymond...

Biography of James Humphrey

James Humphrey, as lawyer, editor, judge and state official, firmly established his position throughout a period of half a century as one of the ablest and most popular citizens of Central Kansas. He was born in Nottinghamshire, England, March 8, 1833; came to New England in 1854, and during the succeeding three years was a resident of Fall River, Massachusetts. There he became interested in the Kansas agitation for free statehood and in April, 1857, reached Manhattan. His first employment in connection with the shrievalty was a good test of his pluck, and he so arose to the occasion that he was afterward elected mayor. In 1859 and 1860 he served as assistant county treasurer and in 1861 was head of the office. He also served as justice of the peace, and his trial of the cases brought before him brought so much commendations from the lawyears of both sides that he decided to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1863. He has previously broken into journalism by editing the Manhattan Express in the absence of C. F. DeVivaldi, who was serving abroad as consul to Brazil. After the Civil war Mr. Humphrey established a large practice, and handled it with such ability that in the spring of 1867 he was appointed judge of the Eighth Judicial District. In the fall of that year he was elected to that bench by a large majority. He continued his residence in Manhattan until 1870, when he resigned from the bench to enter the practice at Junction City. He continued to be associated with Capt. James R. McClure for...

Biography of John Melville Kimball

Kansas has many octogenarians. The soil and climate and other conditions are conducive to bringing men and women to a happy and contented old age, but few of them have lived so long in the Sunflower State as John Melville Kimball, who at the age of four score is still young in spirit and can enjoy the wonderful retrospect of years which goes back to the very establishment of the institntions of the state. He is a pioneer settler of Riley County, and for half a century was successfully identified with farming in Manhattan Township until he retired to his city home in Manhattan. It was in the spring of 1856 that Mr, Kimball, together with his brother J. Augustus Kimball, came out to Kansas Territory, partly for the purpose of founding a home and also to lend their aid in making the territory a free state. They had come from the East by railroad as far as St. Louis, and from that city a steamboat carried them up the Missouri to what is now Kansas City. With a wagon and an ox team they came overland to their destination, keeping close to the banks of the Kansas River until they arrived in what is now Riley County. Thus it was that sixty years ago Mr. Kimball helped drive an ox team over the rude trails which passed as the best of Kansas highways in that time. An interesting comtrast is the fact that he has many times driven an automobile over the first class roads where many years before the sturdy tramp of oxen raised the dust. It...

Biography of Rev. William Knipe

Rev. William Knipe is one of the few surviving participants in the war with Mexico, which was fought nearly seventy years ago. Many other interesting distinctions attach to this venerable and useful resident of Kansas. He was one of the pioneer Methodist missionaries in Jackson County, Kansas, and is one of the very oldest members of the Methodist Conference. He was also a soldier of the Civil war and few men who live so long succeed in compressing so much useful service to humanity within a lifstime. His birth occurred in a log house in Wayne County, Indiana, September 28, 1827. He is now nearing the eighty-ninth milestone on the journey of a well spent career, and enjoys the comfort of a good home in Manhattan. His parents were John and Jemima (Jackson) Knipe, His father, though born in England, was of German lineage. He came to the United States in early manhood in company with his brother Thomas Knipe. Settling on a farm in Wayne County, Indiana, he was a pioneer there and spent his days usefully and honorably. Reverend Mr. Knipe’s mother was a native of North Carolina. She died when he was six years old and ten years later he was deprived of the guidance and care of a father. From that early age he has been dependent upon his own resourees. A limited education was all that the schools of that time could afford and the circumstanses of his early life were such that he could hardly attend such schools as did exist. There were no public schools in Indiana anywhere when he was a...

Biography of Charles F. Little, M.D.

Charles F. Little, M. D., is one of the oldest living members of the medical profession in Kansas. It was fully half a century ago that he came to Manhattan, and until his recent retirement was almost continuously identifled with his professional duties in Riley County. Doctor Little is one of the men who gained their training and attended their first cases prior to the Civil war. In the war he served as an assistant surgeon. A great fund of practical business ability has been a prominent characteristie of Doctor Little and for years he has been one of the influential business men of Manhattan. His individual record of honorable service adds to the lustre of the family name. His ancestry goes back to New England. He is a descendant of George Little, who came from London, England, to America in 1640 and settled around Massachusetts Bay at Newbury. The line of descent from father to son in subsequent generations is as follows: George Little, the progenitor of the family in America; Moses; Tristam; Henry; Henry h; Abner Bailey; Caleb J. T.; and Dr. Charles F. Little. Doctor Little represents the eighth successive generation of the family in America. Charles F. Little was born at Milford, New Hampshire, January 27, 1836, a son of Caleb J. T. and Eliza. Ann (Brooks) Little. Caleb J. T. Little was born at Gofftown, New Hampshire, July 13, 1811, son of Abner Bailey and Nancy (Tenney) Little. In 1834 Caleb Little married Elliza Ann Brooks, who was born at Groton, Massachusetts, in 1813, daughter of Capt. Leonard and Sarah (Hosely) Brooks, both of...

Biography of Edward Shellenbaum

Edward Shellenbaum is co-editor and owner with D. E. Deputy of the Manhattan Nationalist. He entered the newspaper field a few years ago after long and competent service as postmaster at Randolph in Riley County. A native Kansan, he was born in Riley County on his father’s farm near Randolph, November 25, 1875, a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Siebecker) Shellenbaum. Mention of the name of the late Henry Shellenbaum serves to recall not only one of the most prominent pioneers of Riley County, but also some incidents of pioneer life that fittingly find a place in the history of Kansas. The Shellenbaums and their connections were among the first to occupy and develop that beantiful tract of Kansas landscape known as the Fancy Creek Valley. The Shellenbaums are of Swiss stock. Henry was born at Zurich, Canton Winterthur, Switzerland, October 1, 1833. At the age of twenty-one he came to the United States with his parents and brothers and sisters. His father died on the voyage and was buried at sea. The widowed mother and her children located at Seymour, Indiana. About two years later, in 1856, Henry Shellenbaum, with two other natives of Switzerland, Edward and Solomon Secrest, journeyed from Jackson County, Indiana, to Kansas. Kansas was still a territory and a hot bed of the critical troubles growing out of the free-state movement. In November of that year the trio in quest of land joined a band of Indians on a hunting expedition through East and Central Kansas. Their purpose in joining the Indians was the better to explore and discover a suitable and favorable location....

Biography of George S. Murphey

For over forty years George S. Murphey had been a banker. Nearly thirty of those years have been spent in Kansas, and as president of the First National Bank of Manhattan he is at the head of one of the strong and stable financial institutions of the state. Most of his life had been spent in the West and he was in the Middle West at a time when it was really the Far West. His birth occurred in Delaware, Ohio, September 24, 1846. His father James Murphey was born in Penusylvania and his mother Rhoda Carpenter was born in New York, and after their marriago in New York State they moved to Delaware, Ohio. In 1856 the family moved out to Blackhawk County, Iowa, where the parents settled on a farm and there spent the rest of their houored and useful careers. Of their children five sons and one daughter reached maturity. The State of Iowa sixty years ago was a new and undeveloped portion of American territory. George S. Murphey from the age of ten until he was twenty-five lived on a farm in that state and necessarily his education was confined to such advantages as the common schools of the day afforded. When twenty he assumed the management of his father’s farm, and five years of that work and subsequently three years of experience in the agricultural implement business at Elk Point in South Dakota gave him a practical insight into agricultural conditions and an understanding of the life of a farmer which have been valuable assets in his later business career. When Mr. Murphey entered...
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