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Biography of William A. Phillips

William A. Phillips was one of the pioneers of Kansas who made it free from the dominion of slavery, kept it in the Union during the Civil war, protected the interests of the loyal Indians and afterward did fine service as a congressman. He was born in Scotland Jannary 14, 1824, and had laid the basis of a good education before he was fifteen years of age, when he came with his parents to a farm in Randolph County, Illinois. About the time he reached his majority he became associated with B. J. F. Hannah as editor of the Chester Herald. From 1852 to 1855 he was engaged in newspaper work, at the same time studying law, and was admitted to the bar. In the latter year he came to Kansas and was officially appointed by Horace Greeley a member of the editorial staff of the New York Tribune. In that capacity he traveled over much of the territory, and the results of his investigations published in 1856 as the “Conquest of Kansas,” made him a marked man. When Congress sent its investigating committee into the territory he rendered it much practical assistance. Naturally, he became very unpopular with the pro-slavery people. Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil war General Phillips was commissioned major of the First Indian Regiment. Within a short time he was promoted to the coloncley of the famous Cherokee regiment and for a time commanded the Indian brigade. Under General Schofield he commanded a division in the field, including Indians, cavalry, a battery and regiments from different states, and for nearly three years he...

Biography of Peter P. Elder

Peter P. Elder, deceased, ex-lieutenant governor of Kansas, and for many years a resident of Ottawa, was one of the most notable characters of Kansas and one of the select few who gave it a unique and substantial standing among the western states of the Union. He was a native of Maine, born in Somerset County, September 30, 1823; was of North-of-Ireland ancestry and Revolutionary stock. Mr. Elder spent the first thirty-four years of his life in his native county, getting an education and teaching school. He became an ardent abolitionist early in life, and in 1857 located in Franklin County, Kansas, prepared to do his part in defending his principles and possessions. First taking up a claim near Ohio City he commenced farming, immediately joined the Kansas militia, and in 1861 President Lincoln appointed him agent for the Osage and Seneca Indians at Fort Scott. In that position he rendered valuable service to the Union by keeping the Indians to its support, and when he resigned the agency he returned to Franklin County and located at Ottawa, which had been recently platted. In the late ’60s Mr. Elder erected the first substantial residence at Ottawa, and also established the banking firm of P. P. Elder & Company. It continued a successful business until the organization of its successor, in 1871–the First National Bank of Ottawa, of which Mr. Elder was also the first president. For the succeeding thirty years he developed into one of the largest and most successful farmers and stock raisers of the county. During all that period he had also been very active and prominent...

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 Marshall M. Murdock

Marshall M. Murdock, a pioneer journalist of Kansas, the founder of the Wichita Eagle and one of the marked men of the commonwealth, was born in the Pierpont settlement of what is now West Virginia, in 1837. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his father married into the Governor Pierpont family. Soon after his marriage the family moved to Ironton, Southern Ohio, and there Marshall Murdock attended the public schools and commenced to learn the printer’s trade. Thomas Murdock, the father, was unsuccessful in his business venture, and, as he had an abhorrence of slavery and Kansas was then the most pronounced champion of abolitionism in the West, he decided to try his fortune in that part of the country. The family and the household goods were therefore loaded into two covered wagons and a start was made for Topeka; the father drove one team and Marshall, the son, the other. After an overland journey of several weeks they reached their destination and Thomas Murdock settled on a farm near Topeka. When gold was discovered in the Pike’s Peak region, Marshall Murdock started for the excitement, and is said to have been the first to discover silver on the site of Leadville. While he was in the gold fields, the Civil war broke out, his father and two of his brothers enlisted, and he returned to Kansas to care for the younger members of the famliy. He found employment in the printing office at Lawrence, narrowly escaped the Quantrill raiders and at the threatened invasion of Kansas by Price entered the Union service as lieutenant-colonel of the Osage and...

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...

Biographical Sketch of Alexander P. Riddle

Alexander P. Riddle, a widely known newspaper man and public character of Ottawa County, was born at Harlansburg, Pennsylvania, August 16, 1846. He learned his trade as a printer in the office of the Franklin (Pennsylvania) Spectator, and in 1869 came to Kansas as a “jour.” He first located at Olathe; then moved to Girard, where he set type and became half owner of the Press. In 1885 he sold his interest and settled at Minneapolis, which has since been his home. There he purchased the Minneapolis Messenger, which he still publishos and edits, as well as the Kansas Workman and Sprig of Myrtle. Mr. Riddle has been prominent in state matters, his public services commencing in 1877, when he was chosen journal clerk of the State Senate and served thus for two years. In 1881-3 he represented Bourbon and Crawford counties in the upper house of the Legislature, and in 1884 was elocted lioutenant governor on the tieket headed by John A. Martin. He was re-elected in 1886 and in 1896 was appointed suporintendent of insurance. Mr. Riddle has also been prominent in the affairs of the Knights of Pythias and Odd Fellows, having served as grand master of the...

Biographical Sketch of Robert M. Wright

Robert M. Wright, a prominent resident of Dodge City, has prospered as a farmer, stockman, merchant and public servant. He is a native of the South, born in Bladensburg, Prince George County, Maryland, September 2, 1840. His father, who was born at Alexandria, Virginia, in 1800, often recounted his experlence as a boy on the battlefield of Bladensburg administering to wounded American soldiers. Mr. Wright’s great grandfather was a Prdsbyterian minister in Revolutionary times and raised a regiment of plowboys at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, of which he had command at the battle of the Meadows. The British had a price on his head and destroyed his property and the Tories finally killed him. His wife was shot by Hessian soldiers as she sat at a window with her baby. Elias B. Caldwell, the maternal grandfather, was clerk of the United States Supreme Court at Washington for many years, and when the capitol was destroyed by the British in the War of 1812 his library, which he had loaned to Congress, was also burned. Mr. Wright came West when sixteen years of age, and until 1859 lived on a farm near St. Louis. In 1850 he took an overland trip to Denver, and during the following eight years, as a trader and a contractor for hauling grain and cutting hay and wood, he crossed the plains four times by wagon and twice by coach. In 1867 he became a post trader at Fort Dodge, and has since resided at that locality. During that period he has served as postmaster, has represented Dodge County in the Legislature for four terms. and...

Biographical Sketch of Samuel C. Pomeroy

Samuel C. Pomeroy, one of the leaders of Kansas in the times of her free-state travail whose political ambition overleaped his sense of honor, was born in Southampton, Massachusetts, January 3, 1816. When a young man be became strongly imbued with antislavery sentiments. He happened to be present when President Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and is said to have remarked to the nation’s chief executive: “Your victory is but an adjournment of the question from the halls of legislation at Washington to the open prairies of the Freedom-loving West, and there, sir, we shall beat you.” So earnest was Mr. Pomeroy in the matter that in August, 1854, he started for Kansas with a colony of 200 emigrants pledged to the free-state cause. On September 6th they crossed the line at Kansas City, bound for Lawrence, but Pomeroy settled at Atchison. He spent much of his time canvassing the eastern states for the free-state cause in Kansas, and in 1861 was intrusted with a large fund raised for the sufferers by drought. Upon the admission of the state into the Union, in that year, he was elected to the United State Senate and re-elected in 1867. At the republican nominating convention for a third term, before which he was a candidate, Senator A. M. York of Montgumery County denounced Mr. Pomeroy for bribery, and turned over the $7,000 paid by the latter for his support, to the presiding officer. The result was that John J. Ingalls received the almost unaimous vote of the convention, and Mr. Pomeroy’s political aspirations were killed. He died at Whitinsville, Massachusetts, August 27,...

Biographical Sketch of Charles W. Goodlander

Charles W. Goodlander was an able and large hearted business man, and among other tributes to his benevolence is the Home for Children which he founded at Fort Scott. He was a Pennsylvanian of English-Quaker ancestry, born at Milton, April 25, 1834. He obtained a partial high school education and mastered and followed the carpenter’s trade in Ponnsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, before deciding to venture west of the Mississippi in his search for a location. Finally, in April, 1857, he arrived at Fort Scott, the first passenger to come from Kansas City by stage coach. Mr. Goodlander at once established himself at that point as a contractor and builder, in which line he continued with success for twelve years. Subsequently he became interested in the lumber trade, a large brick yard and other enterprises. The panie of 1873 much reduced the value of his properties, and in 1876 his mill and elevator were almost destroyed by a boiler explosion. He then retrieved his fortune by returning to his old business of building and contrasting, bought back his mill property and suffered a heavy loss by fire in 1887. The mill was rebuilt. For some time he was also president of the Citizens’ National Bank, and operated the Goodlandor Hotel. He invested in grain elevators, the manufacture of yellow pine and a variety of other enterprises. In 1901 he purchased the old home of his father-in-law, Col. H. T. Wilson, and converted it into the Goodlander Home for Children. This useful institution is open to dependent children of Fort Scott and vienity, and, in exceptional cases, to older...
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