John D. M. Conrad. Among the most interesting men of Salina are those who can justly be named pioneers of this fair city. They have a wealth of experience that no later comers can claim, and it is because of their courage and enterprise that such rich and rapid development had taken place. In John D. M. Conrad, who is the only survivor of a once very important body, the first city council of Salina, is found not only a pioneer of this section but also a veteran of honorable record of the great Civil war.
John D. M. Conrad was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, April 16, 1838. His parents were George J. and Rosanna (Miller) Conrad, the former of whom was born in Maryland and the latter in Bedford County. Until he was about twelve years of age the boy attended the district schools. Then he started to learn the shoemaker’s trade in Pittsburgh and continued working at the same until 1855, when he came west and located at Shelbyville, Illinois. There, on May 25, 1861, he enlisted for service in the Civil war, entering Company B, Fourteenth Volunteer Infantry, the regiment being commanded by Col. John M. Palmer. During his service of three years he took part in many important battles, including Shiloh, Corinth, Hatchie River, Vicksburg, Jackson and others. He was honorably discharged May 25, 1864, while in the convalescent hospital at Jefferson Barracks. He had been very fortunate in escaping both wounds and imprisonment.
After his military life was over Mr. Conrad located at Jacksonville, Illinois, where he followed carpenter work. In 1869 he came to Salina, Kansas, starting into a contracting and building business, and under his direction many of the first structures at Salina were put up. Possessing practical ideas and excellent judgment, he was soon called upon by his fellow citizens to assist in the responsibilities facing them in the establishment of law and order. He served two years as a member of the first city council and one year as city marshal, served also for three years as under sheriff of Saline County and three years as constable of Salina City Township. In 1912 he was elected a justice of the peace and is still serving as such.
On August 3, 1870, Mr. Conrad was married at Jacksonville, Illinois, to Miss Emily E. Case, who was born in Morgan County, Illinois, in 1845, and is a daughter of Richard and Mary (Henderson) Case.
In politics Mr. Conrad had been a consistent republican since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He takes much interest in John A. Logan Post No. 127, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he is past commander. Mr. Conrad had comparatively few educational opportunities in youth, but he had always been studious and a great reader and is not only well informed concerning pioneer times in Kansas, but is conversant with the world’s history of today. He had a wide acquaintance and is looked upon as one of the representative and sterling men of Salina.