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Almon A. Gist. Arkansas City is one of the most important points on the system of the Santa Fe Railway, the Oklahoma & Gulf Line there connecting with the eastern and western divisions of the system. Many of the important offices connected with the traffic and operating departments are located in Arkansas City, and some of the men who have risen highest in the service have their business headquarters there. One of them is A. A. Gist, now train master, who had been a railroad man during the most of his active career and had been located at Arkansas City since 1909.
Mr. Gist is a native of Kansas and is a member of that prominent Scotch-Irish family of Gists which were Colonial settlers in Virginia and some of whom were frontiersmen in extremely early times. There was a Gist whose name is frequently mentioned in the history of Revolutionary times, was a path finder over the Alleghanies, and was frequently employed by Washington and other notables of the time. From Virginia the family came west and were pioneers in Missouri, where they located about the time that district was acquired as part of the Louisiana purchase. Mr. Gist’s paternal grandfather, William J. Gist, was born in Missouri as early as 1810, nine years before Missouri became a state. He spent his life there as a farmer, and died at Independence in 1875. He was a loyal Southerner, and though well advanced in years, served in the Confederate army.
Thomas Gist, father of A. A. Gist, was born at Boonville, Missouri, in 1831, and was a pioneer in Kansas, coming out in 1859 and located at Lecompton. He shared in the experiences of border and Civil war times, and subsequently removed to Brown County, where he homesteaded a quarter section near Morrill and five miles from Sabetha. In 1876 he removed to Manhattan and continued his business as a farmer there until his death in 1896. Though his father was a loyal Confederate, he was himself loyal to the free State of Kansas, and in 1862 enlisted in a Kansas regiment, serving three years, until mustered out in 1865. He was a republican and a very active man in the Methodist Episcopal Church. During Civil war times he had been connected with the forces operating against Quantrill. Thomas Gist married Rebecca J. Thompson. She was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 1829, and is still living at Manhattan, a venerable woman of eighty-eight years. She was the mother of eight children: Jane, who lives at Clinton, Kansas, widow of John Tucker, a pioneer farmer in that district; Mary, who lives at Osborne, Kansas, is the widow of Isaac Thompson, also a farmer; William J., who spent many years as a farmer, subsequently removed to Manhattan in order to procure better educational facilities for his children, was an employe of the Union Pacific Railway, and died in Manhattan in 1907; J. M. Gist is in the fruit business at Fresno, California; Owen J. is a minister of the Christian Church, living at Coeur D’Alene, Idaho; Joseph T. is a merchant at Enid, Oklahoma; Nina married W. C. Dunn, an attorney and insurance man at Manhattan.
The eighth and youngest of the family is Almon A. Gist, who was born at Sabetha, Kansas, June 7, 1870. He went with the family to Manhattan at the age of six years, attended the public schools there, and in 1891 received his degree Bachelor of Science from the State Agricultural College. On leaving college he took up railroad work as an employe of the Union Pacific system. He worked in various responsibilities and in various places, chiefly doing station duty, until 1898. Then came the only important exception to his career as a railroad man. From 1898 until 1905 he was an employe of the United States war department, working as a clerk at Fort Riley. Resuming railroad work, this time he became identified with the Santa Fe, and was again in station service, beginning at Guthrie, Oklahoma, and filling different places along the Oklahoma division. He subsequently became chief clerk to the superintendent at Arkansas City, and his home and headquarters have been there since 1909. In 1911 Mr. Gist’s abilities caused his promotion to train master, and he now had his offices in the general office building of the Santa Fe at Arkansas City.
Mr. Gist and family reside at 207 North Second Street. In politics he is a republican. Mr. Gist was married at Belleville, in Republic County, Kansas, in June, 1895, to Miss May E. Hallowell. Mrs. Gist was born in Sigourney, Iowa. They have one daughter, Edwina, who was born at Manhattan, Kansas, April 12, 1896. She is a graduate of the Manning School of Music of San Francisco and had earned more than a local reputation as a vocalist and violinist.