Capt. William E. Payton, editor and owner of the Colony Free Press, had been a live factor in Kansas journalism for a number of years. He is also prominent in Kansas military circles, having seen service in actual warfare during the Philippine insurrection, and is now captain of Machine Gun Company of the Third Kansas Infantry.
Captain Payton is a native of Kansas, having been born on a farm in Butler County December 15, 1879. His parents were Benjamin F. and Sarah C. Payton, both natives of Indiana. His father served as a soldier in the Civil war. The family came to Kansas in the early ’70s and his father died in 1915. They were the parents of nine children, eight sons and one daughter, William E. being the seventh in age.
Captain Payton was educated in the public schools of Butler County and grew up on his father’s farm. Before he attained his majority he enlisted in Company A of the Thirty-second Regiment, United States Volunteer Infantry, and spent two years as a soldier in the Philippines. He made a good record in the army and his interest in military affairs had been unabated to the present time.
In 1905 Mr. Payton bought the Burns Oitizen at Burns in Marion County, edited and published it three years, and selling out acquired the Bulletin at Florene, Kansas, having charge of that paper also three years. Mr. Payton bought the Free Press at Colony in 1912. This is a republican paper, the only one published at Colony, and was established in 1882 by C. T. Richardson and J. J. Burke.
Captain Payton while living at Burns was largely instrumental as an individual citizen and through his newspaper in giving that town its splendid consolidated high school. His interest in higher edueation had made him a factor in the different communities where he had lived. Captain Payton is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. In 1917, when America began its active preparations for war, Captain Payton organised the Machine Gun Company of the Third Kansas Infantry at Iola, Kansas, and was commissioned captain June 7, 1917. In addition to his newspaper at Colony Captain Payton for two years had been city editor of the Iola Daily Register. His wife is a talented woman and in his absence had taken his place as editor of the Colony Free Press. Captain Payton is an active republican.
May 23, 1907, at Burns, Kansas, he married Miss Clara Godding. She was born on a farm in Butler County, Kansas, June 1, 1878, daughter of C. W. and Rebecca L. Godding, both of whom were natives of Maine. Her parents came to Kansas in 1872 and Mrs. Payton was one of six children, four sons and two daughters. She was educated in the Kansas State Normal at Emporia and before her marriage taught school in Butler County seven years. She is also active in club circles and was one of the founders of the Colony Federation of Clubs, which established the public library at that town. Captain and Mrs. Payton have three sons: William Antone, born October 21, 1909; Panl Winston, born November 1, 1911; and Frederick Dwight, born December 5, 1912.