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Winfield S. Andrews, a merchant and one of the most liberal and enterprising citizens of Neosho Rapids, represents a family name that had been identified with that interesting section of Kansas since territorial days.
The Andrews family came from England to Pennsylvania in colonial times, and Mr. Andrews’ grandfather, Thomas Andrews, was born in Pennsylvania in 1780. From Pennsylvania he went to the western frontier, then in Ohio, and from there again became a pioneer in Wisconsin, and when a very old man in 1859 accompanied other members of the family to Kansas, and died at Neosho Rapids in 1860. He was a blacksmith by trade.
A. J. Audrews, father of the Neosho Rapids merchant, was born in Ohio in 1827, was reared in that state, and also learned the trade of blacksmith. When quite young he went to Wisconsin and lived there until after his marriage. Then in 1859 he came to Kansas, which was still a territory, and settled at Neosho Rapids, where he was one of the first to set up a blacksmith shop. Thenceforward for many years he was an influential and highly esteemed citizen of the state. He went out from Kansas in 1862 as a private soldier in Company C of the Eleventh Kansas Infantry and served three years until the close of the war. Most of his service was west of the Mississippi, and he participated in the battle of Perry’s Grove and in the campaign which drove Price out of Missouri. After the war he returned to Neosho Rapids, and followed his trade and also participated in local affairs until his death at Neosho Rapids in 1897. He was an active republican and represented his home district in the State Legislature one term. He was a member and deacon in the Methodist Protestant Church and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. A. J. Andrews married Julia A. Biggs, who was born in Ohio in 1838 and died in Neosho Rapids December 15, 1910. There were four children: Wilda is the wife of W. H. Batch, a minister of the Methodist Protestant Church now living at Guthrie, Oklahoma; C. J., who lost a leg in a railroad accident at Hinton, West Virginia, and afterwards lived retired at Neosho Rapids until his death in 1908; Winfield S.; and S. T. Andrews, who is a railway mail clerk with home at Emporia.
Winfield S. Andrews had many of those interesting recollections of Lyon County, particularly in the vicinity of Neosho Rapids as that district was in pioneer times. He attended the public schools of his native village, where he was born July 24, 1861, but left school at the early age of fourteen to take part in the battle of life for himself. He made farming his regular vocation until 1891, and then engaged in the mercantile business, and now had one of the largest general stores at Neosho Rapids, and also owned a farm of 140 acres six miles northeast of town in Coffey County. Mr. Andrews had exhibited good judgment as well as much industry in working out his career, and had a large number of business interests. He owned a drug store building at Neosho Rapids, and he recently bought the old schoolhouse which he intends to move and remodel for hotel purposes. He owned several other town properties, and is a stockholder in the Neosho Rapids State Bank. Mr. Andrews had never married.
The people of Neosho Rapids give him much credit for his leadership in reorganizing and improving the local school system. Until a few years ago the school at Neosho Rapids was only a district school. Mr. Andrews had been a member of the board for sixteen years and is now its president. Under his lead the district school was improved and graded and a high school department created, and recently a new building was erected at a cost of $11,700. There are now 5 teachers and 125 scholars enrolled. Mr. Andrews is affiliated with Lodge No. 46 Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Neosho Rapids.