Hon. William T. Buckner of Wichita was born at Washington Court House, Ohio, January 2, 1846, and secured his early education in the public schools. He was still a lad in his early ‘teens when the Civil war came on, but succeeded in enlisting as a private in Company I, Seventy-third Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with which he was in almost constant service at the front. His enlistment had been for three years, but the hard life of the army broke down the young soldier’s health and after two years he was given his honorable discharge because of disability and returned for a while to his home. After his recovery, he again enlisted, this time in Company F, One Hundred and Seventy-fifth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and again went to the front, his service continuing until the close of the war and his final discharge being given him in July, 1865. As a member of two regiments, he was a participant in a number of important engagements in Virginia and in the Southwest, including the battles of McDowell, Cross Keys, Franklin and Nashville, and his record as a soldier was a most honorable one.
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When his military career was finished, he returned to his home and took up the study of law under the direction of his cousin, Judge Robert M. Briggs, of Washington Court House. After some preparation he enrolled as a student at the Cleveland Law School, Cleveland, Ohio, from which he was duly graduated with the class of 1871. During the next twelve years he was engaged in the practice of his calling at Cleveland, where he built up a large professional business, but at the end of that period he answered the call of the West, and in 1884 located permanently at Wichita, which city had since been the scene of his activities. Here he soon won merited recognition, and four years after his arrival in Wichita was elected on the republican ticket to the office of judge of the Probate Court. To aspire to public station is a laudable aspiration; to attain it by honorable means is a proud distinction; to use it for the common good justly deserves public gratitude. Judge Buckner’s elevation to the bench was secured through no chicanery, but through a just appreciation of his general fitness for such an honor. That he used the power of his high office for the general good was shown in the following elections, in 1890, when he was re-elected, serving until January, 1893. Since then he had devoted himself to the practice of his calling. He stands high in the estimation of his fallow-practitioners as well as of the general public. Judge Buckner had always taken a deep interest and had given much substantial aid in matters pertaining to the welfare of Wichita.
In 1883 Judge Buckner was united in marriage with Miss Mary J. Wadsworth, of Cleveland, Ohio. She is a member of the Wichita Board of Education and is a past state president of the Woman’s Relief Corps of Kansas. They have two daughters; Dora A., connected with the Wichita City Library, and Susan E., a teacher in the Enid High School of Enid, Oklahoma.