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Biography of Isaac Fenton Talbott

Isaac Fenton Talbott, of McPherson, is president of the Farmers Alliance Insurance Company, with headquarters in that city. He had been identified with this organization nearly thirty years. The Farmers Alliance Insurance Company is perhaps the largest and most notable of the co-operative financial enterprises that were the outgrowth of the economic unrest of the ’80s and early ’90s. The company was organized in 1887 on the co-operative plan. It writes both fire and tornado insurance, and is now one of the largest of the state’s financial institutions. It had insurance in force in every one of the 105 counties of the state and had agents and representatives in each county. As a mutual company it is one of the largest and had one of the best records shown in the annals of such companies in America. The company now had about $75,000,000 insurance in force and a membership of over 45,000. Its board of directors number fifteen. I. F. Talbott was born January 28, 1853, on a farm in Morgan County, Ohio. His parents, William and Margaret (Stubbs) Talbott, were also natives of Ohio. Mr. Talbott grew up on a farm, had the atmosphere of rural surroundings, and had always kept in close touch with rural interests. He was educated in the public schools of Morgan County and at a business college in Zanesville, Ohio. Before coming to Kansas he farmed, raised stock and taught school. Mr. Talbott had been a resident of Kansas since 1887. In that year he bought land in McPherson County a few miles west of the City of McPherson, and for several years...

Biography of Gustav A. Nyquist

Gustav A. Nyquist, now county attorney of McPherson County, had won the honors of his profession in many hard fought legal combats since he was admitted to practice ten years ago, and is one of the ablest and most influential citizens in this section of the state. Mr. Nyquist is a native Kansan. His early life was one of comparative lack of opportunity and struggle against adverse circumstances. He fought the good fight and had gained such a position as men of honorable ambition most desire. His birth occurred in a dugout on a claim in Ellsworth County, Kansas, September 5, 1874. His parents were Nels M. and Christina (Anderson) Nyquist. His father, who was born in Sweden May 1, 1840, had been both a farmer and carpenter. In 1872 he came alone to America, bringing no capital to speak of, and made his start in life on a Government homestead in Ellsworth County. In that one location he performed a part of labor and industry which brought its sure reward in after years, and he died February 21, 1881. He was a life-long member of the Lutheran Church and was a charter member of the church at Marquette, Kansas. While establishing a home in Western Kansas he endured all the hardships and privations of a pioneer. He lived in a dugout until he could replace that with a better home, and surely and steadily he got a firm grip on prosperity. In 1873, the year after he came to Kansas, he married Miss Anderson, who was born in Sweden August 1, 1842. There were four children, one daughter...

Bigraphy of Herbert A. Rowland

Herbert A. Rowland, of McPherson, is one of the most widely known civil engineers of Central Kansas. He had served nearly twenty years as county surveyor of McPherson County, is city engineer of McPherson City, but his work in laying out and supervising municipal improvements is not confined to one locality. He had been consulting engineer for half a dozen or more of the larger towns in that section of the state. Mr. Rowland belongs to the pioneer element of Kansas. He was born in a dugout on a claim in Saline County April 2, 1869. His parents were Joseph W. and Sarah Jane (Chamberlain) Rowland. His father, a son of William Rowland, a native of Washington County, Ohio, was also born in that county, October 28, 1840. He had just reached the years of manhood when the war broke out. He enlisted in Company I of the Sixty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served until the close of the struggle. He was in the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the South and the Army of the James, and among the many important battles in which he participated were Bull Run, Deep Bottom, Wilderness, Winchester and in the closing scenes at Appomattox. In all the risks and dangers he incurred he was wounded only once, and then slightly, and was never taken prisoner. He was promoted to sergeant. With the close of the war he returned to Washington County, Ohio, and was engaged in farming there until he removed to Kansas in 1868. He reached Salina in October of that year, and was practically without funds or property....

Biography of Ross Homer Rhoads

Ross Homer Rhoads is agent for the Santa Fe Railroad Company at Arkansas City. He had been a railroad man for a number of years, and it was his efficiency and his ability that led to his promotion to one of the most important posts along the Santa Fe system in Kansas. Mr. Rhoads had spent most of his life in Kansas but was born at Somerset, Pennsylvania, April 9, 1883. His grandfather, Samuel A. Rhoads, was a native of Germany and came from there to Pennsylvania. He had ten children: Sarah, deceased; Adaline, single; Etta, deceased; Philip, deceased; Susan, deceased; Hiram, the father of Ross H.; Emma, Jane and Clara, all unmarried; and Frank, a farmer of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. All the unmarried daughters are living on the home place in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Hiram K. Rhoads, the father, was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 1858, grew up and married there, and during his active career followed the vocation of farming. In 1887 he came to Kansas, spending one year as a farmer in Morris County and then removing to McPherson County, where he continued actively as a farmer until 1902. For a number of years he lived retired in the City of McPherson, but since 1914 had had his home at Prairie City, Oregon. He is a republican and a member of the German Brethren Church. Hiram K. Rhoads married Nancy A. Yoder, who was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 1860. They are the parents of seven children: Harve E., a contractor living at Prairie City, Oregon; Ira D., cashier for the Union Pacific Railroad Company at...

Biography of Charles Hedinger, M. D.

Charles Hedinger, M. D., of Canton, McPherson County, is a character unique in the great Sunflower State of Kansas. Others have grown old under the bright skies and in the wholesome and invigorating climate of Kansas’ prairies, but so far as known none had reached the age of ninety-five still active in work and had passed through such a varied range of experience, meeting hazard and danger with equanimity, and getting all possible out of life at every hour of existence. Much had been said and written in recent years concerning the decadence of the modern man and his comparative usefulness in the scheme of industrial and commercial life after the age of forty. In spite of the numerous conspicuous exceptions that belief had become almost a creed in some sections. But Doctor Hedinger had carried on his life work and usefulness for almost half a century beyond the normal middle age. He had actually proved that the last of life is that for which the first was made. Much had been written of Doctor Hedinger in recent years, and one of America’s leading weekly periodicals, the Outlook, recently referred to him in the following paragraphs: “Out in Kansas today Dr. Charles Hedinger, at the age of ninety-five, performs all of the arduous duties of a country practice, turning out at midnight to drive a score of miles, though the temperature be below zero.” Of such a man Kansas history must take more than a passing notice. Charles Hedinger was born on a vessel in the Mediterranean Sea August 17, 1821, and is now in his ninety-sixth year. His...

Biography of John F. Hughes

John F. Hughes was one of the prominent pioneers of McPherson County, went to that section of Kansas soon after the close of the Civil war, in which he bore an honored part, became one of the leading ranchers of the county and of Western Kansas, and was also a factor in public affairs, having served at one time as state senator. His entire life was one of noteworthy experience and endeavor, and his career belongs among the prominent Kansas of the last half century. John F. Hughes was born in Venango County, Pennsylvania, December 28, 1842, and died at McPherson, Kansas, July 2, 1912. His parents were Ellis and Aurella (Davis) Hughes. He was of Welsh stock. His father was a miller by trade and a veteran of the War of 1812. The late Mr. Hughes grew up in Western Pennsylvania, was educated in the local schools, and as a boy worked around his father’s mill. He was still a youth when he volunteered his services to defend the Union. He enlisted as a private in Company A of the One Hundred and Twenty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was in active service until the close of the war. He was in some of the most bitterly fought campaigns in the Virginias, and was at Chancellorsville and the Wilderness, and at Gettysburg was seriously wounded and after that battle spent some time in the hospital at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He then rejoined his regiment and was present at Appomattox when the armies of General Lee surrendered. Soon after the war, in 1866, Mr. Hughes came out to Kansas and...

Biography of Fred Goodholm

Fred Goodholm. Having identified himself with the business community of Lindsborg in 1879 Fred Goodholm is a veteran merchant and citizen of that community and his life had been productive of good, had resulted in a satisfying prosperity for himself, and the influence he had exerted in his home city and the worthy family that surrounds him are tokens of a worthy and active career. Mr. Goodholm was born December 24, 1848, at Filipstad, Sweden, a son of Anders and Charlotte (Lind) Goodholm. His father, who was born in 1822 and died in 1878, spent his active career in Sweden as a railroad trainman. He was a devoutly religious man. His wife was born in Sweden in 1820 and in 1885 came to America to join her children, and she died in Chicago in 1894. She was also active throughout her life in the Swedish Lutheran Church. She and her husband were married in 1846 and had seven children, three sons and four daughters, of whom Fred is the oldest. Sophia, born in 1854, married N. J. Nelson in 1875, and now likes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Henry, born in 1857, married in 1884 Sophia Erickson and is a resident of Lindsborg. Charlotte, born in 1859, was married in 1897 to Axel Carlson, and is a resident of Chicago. Andrew, born in 1861, married Agnes Lindbloom in 1897, and lives at Oklahoma City. Carl, born in 1863, was presumably lost in the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Elizabeth, born in 1868, was married in 1905 to John Forsberg and now lives at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Fred Goodholm, who was reared...

Biography of William O. Mathes

William O. Mathes. There is no more enthusiastic Kansas than William O. Mathes of McPherson. He knows the state not merely as a great and prosperous modern commonwealth, but by intimate experience with this country when it was in its pioneer stages. He won his competence on a Kansas homestead and he and his people were among the earliest settlers in McPherson County. Mr. Mathes was born in a log house on a farm in Clark County, Indiana, September 7, 1854. His parents were Charles and Mary Ellen (Clark) Mathes. The Mathes family in an earlier generation became pioneers in Indiana Territory, living there when Indiana was on the western frontier and when the settlers had to dispute with the Indians their right to possession. Charles Mathes was born September 10, 1812, about the time the War of 1812 began, in a stockade fort in Clark County, Indiana. That fort had been put up for the protection of settlers against the Indians, and at that time all Indiana was aroused and in a state of fearfulness following the Indian uprising which had culminated in the battle of Tippecanoe only a few months previously. Charles Mathes was a farmer, lived in Indiana for many years, but in 1867 brought his family out to Kansas. He traveled overland by wagon and arriving in what is now McPherson County located his homestead of Government land on the Smoky Hill River, one mile east of the present Town of Lindsborg. McPherson County had not yet been organized. Charles Mathes had as his early homes a dugout and later a log house, and buffalo...

Biography of Jeremiah L. Seitz

Jeremiah L. Seitz is one of the pioneers of McPherson County. He came to Kansas a short time after the close of the Civil war, in which he had served as one of the youngest volunteers on the Union side. As a homesteader, farmer, public official and business man he had played a worthy and influential role in McPherson County since pioneer days. He is still active and had a good business as a collecting agent and auctioneer. Mr. Seitz was born April 16, 1847, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, son of Jacob and Barbara (Shellebarger) Seitz. His parents were natives of Germany and came to America when quite young. His father came over in 1831. The father was born in 1812 and the mother in 1814. They were married at Decatur, Illinois, in 1839. Jacob Seitz, who followed the business of merchant tailor, permanently located at Decatur in 1857, and lived there half a century, until his death, October 14, 1907. The mother died at Decatur September 20, 1876. There were five children, four sons and one daughter. John, the oldest, born in 1840, was a private soldier in Company B of the Eighth Illinois Infantry and was killed in battle at Fort Donelson in 1862. David W., the second in age, was born in May, 1842, and is now a veterinary surgeon and stock man at Bement, Illinois. Daniel, born in July, 1844, combines farming with his duties as preacher in the United Brethren Church at Oakley, Illinois. The next in age is Jeremiah L. William, the youngest, was born in July, 1849, and is a farmer at Hammond,...

Biography of Alexander Carraway Spilman

Alexander Carraway Spilman, living at McPherson at the age of eighty, is one of the few survivors of the true pioneer epoch of Kansas. The range of his experience seems remarkable even for a man of his age. He was in Kansas as a witness and newspaper correspondent of the factional turbulence of territorial days. He is a civil engineer by profession and was a member of the United States surveying party which surveyed Kansas west of the sixth principal meridian in 1858. It is probable that he is the only living pioneer or the oldest settler west of that meridian in Kansas. He knew the country when it was an absolute wilderness, a vast expanse of prairie and buffalo grass roamed over by the wild Indians and the buffalo. He fought as a soldier in the Civil war. He was one of the original company that founded the Town of Salina, and had been almost equally prominent in McPherson since that city came into existence. Captain Spilman was born at Yazoo City, Mississippi, October 5, 1837, a son of Dr. James F. and Margaret (Carraway) Spilman. His paternal grandfather Spilman, whose name was Benjamin, was born in Virginia. Dr. James F. Spilman, one of a family of eleven children, five sons and six daughters, was born in Kentucky in 1788 and died at Bunker Hill, Illinois, in 1870. He became a prominent and successful physician. He gave military service during the Black Hawk Indian war of 1832, in which Abraham Lincoln served as a captain of Illinois volunteers. In 1816 Doctor Spilman married Miss Margaret Carraway, who was...
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