Biography of John McKimens
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John McKimens. Pottawatomie County was organized in 1857, It is one of the oldest counties in that section of the state that was fairly well settled during the border period of Kansas history. The present county seat, Westmoreland, was established in 1871 and was named for Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
The pioneer who gave the name to the county seat was the late John McKimens, Sr. He was one of the first settlers in Pottawatomie County, having located at the present site of Westmoreland in Oetober, 1856, a year before the county was organized. John McKimens, Sr., was born in Pennsylvania in 1822 and came to Kansas from Westmoreland County. His grandfather had immigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania. His father, Henry MeKimens, was born in Pennsylvania and spent his life there as a farmer, dying in Westmoreland County in 1870. He married a woman of German ancestry.
John McKimens, Sr., grew up in Pennsylvania, and on coming to Kansas located on a farm in Pottawatomie County, and in 1858 secured the establishment of a post office, which was the nueleus around which the present City of Westmoreland developed. He preempted a claim of 160 acres, and gradually developed a good farm, and at the time of his death, which occurred at Westmoreland in 1896, be owned 250 acres. He was a leader in hls community in making it a free state and was always a loyal republican, John McKimens, Sr., married Mrs. Elizaheth (Wright) Hazen. Her first husband was Z. H. Hazen, and by that union there is one son, W. B. Hazen, now a merchant at Minneapolis, Kansas. Mrs. John McKimens, Sr., was born in Pennsylvania in 1825, and died at Westmoreland, Kansas, in 1904. After the marriage of John McKimens and wife they retnrned to Pennsylvania for a few months, and while there their first child, Elizabeth, was born. She is now the wife of C. T. Breshear, a retired farmer living at Hutchinson, Kansas. The second child was Jennie, wife of J. P. Cochran, now serving as postmaster at Hunter, Oklahoma. William died in 1881, at the age of nineteen. The fourth in age is John McKimens, Jr.
John McKimens, Jr., had for many years been a man of enterprise at Westmoreland, had prospered as a farmer, and had also filled the office of county treasurer. He was born at Westmoreland April 16, 1866, and grew up on his father’s farm. He now owned the old place of his father, consisting of 250 acres, and by his indiyidual exertlons had increased that holding by another 160 acres. Farming had been his vocation and he had needed no other source of income. His service as county treasurer of Pottawatomie County was rendered from 1911 to 1915.
Mr. McKimens is a democrat in politics. He had served on the city council and in various township offloes and on the school board. He was a director and is still stockholder in the Farmers State Bank of Westmoreland, and owned besides his farm a good dwelling on State Street. He is past noble grand of Salome Lodge No. 252 of the Independeut Order of Odd Fellows at Westmoreland, and a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security.
In 1887, at Westmoreland, he married Miss Lucy Jones, daughter of W. D. and Margaret (Dawson) Jones. Her parents are both deceased. Her father was a prominent citizen of Pottawatomie County, followed farming in the main, and for ten years was probate judge of the county. Mr. and Mrs. McKimens had ten children: Garnet, wife of William Springstead, an insurauce agent living at Topeka; Edith, wife of D. E. Merriott, connected with the Santa Fe Railway Company in the general offices at Topeka; John, who died at the age of three years; William D., a farmer living on his father’s place; Phyllis, a student of Washburn College; Thomss R., who lives at home and assists his father; Genevieve and George, both students in the high school; and Elna and Dorothy, who are still in the grammar school.