Location: Atchison County KS

Biographical Sketch of Luther C. Challis

Perhaps Luther C. Challis, nearly forty years a citizen of Atchison, is best known as a pioneer railroad man. He was born in New Jersey January 26, 1829, and for some years before moving West was engaged in business in Philadelphia and Boonville, Missouri. In 1855 he located in Atchison and joined his brother as one of the first merchants of that town. He afterward became a banker, and maintained a profitable ferry across the Missouri River until the building of the bridge in 1875. Mr. Challis was elected to a seat in the Territorial Council of 1857-58, made vacant by the resignation of Joseph P. Carr in January, 1858. He is generally conceded to be the father of the Central Branch of the Union Pacifie Railroad, having framed the bill to authorize its construction, secured its passage, and negotiated the treaty with the Kickapoo Indians for securing its right-of-way through their territory. Mr. Challis was also one of the incorporators of the Atchison & St. Joseph Railway, the first railroad built in the state, and one of the founders of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. He died in Atchison, July 26,...

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Biographical Sketch of Samuel C. Pomeroy

Samuel C. Pomeroy, one of the leaders of Kansas in the times of her free-state travail whose political ambition overleaped his sense of honor, was born in Southampton, Massachusetts, January 3, 1816. When a young man be became strongly imbued with antislavery sentiments. He happened to be present when President Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and is said to have remarked to the nation’s chief executive: “Your victory is but an adjournment of the question from the halls of legislation at Washington to the open prairies of the Freedom-loving West, and there, sir, we shall beat you.” So earnest was Mr. Pomeroy in the matter that in August, 1854, he started for Kansas with a colony of 200 emigrants pledged to the free-state cause. On September 6th they crossed the line at Kansas City, bound for Lawrence, but Pomeroy settled at Atchison. He spent much of his time canvassing the eastern states for the free-state cause in Kansas, and in 1861 was intrusted with a large fund raised for the sufferers by drought. Upon the admission of the state into the Union, in that year, he was elected to the United State Senate and re-elected in 1867. At the republican nominating convention for a third term, before which he was a candidate, Senator A. M. York of Montgumery County denounced Mr. Pomeroy for bribery, and turned over the $7,000...

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Biography of Col. Horack L. Moore

Col. Horack L. Moore, of Lawrence, had seen valiant service as a soldier of the Civil war and in after campaigns against the hostile Indians of the West. He had also been a successful business man and banker, had served a term in Congress and is still a local leader in substantial and beneficial enterprises. He is a native of Ohio, born at Mantua, February 25, 1837, and received his higher edueation at the Western Reserve Electric Institute, at Hiram, Ohio. In 1858 he moved to Kansas with his brother Francis, who died a mouth after their arrival in Atchison County, and was studying law when the Civil war broke out. He enlisted on May 14, 1861, as a private in Company D, Second Kansas Infantry, a three months’ regiment. In the organization of his company he was made a corporal and served until October 31st, participating in all the actions of the regiment. The day he was mustered out he re-enlisted and on December 11, 1861, was made second lieutenant on the reorganization of Company D. On May 1, 1862, he received his commission as first lieutenant and was promoted to the captaincy of his company in 1863, but never mustered, as he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Fourth Arkansas Cavalry by the secretary of war and mustered into that regiment on February 18, 1864. He held...

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Biography of Marcus A. Low

No intelligent resident of Kansas would dispute the assertion that in Marcus A. Low, of Topeka, is found one of the really big men of the state. He is a man of many achievements. His ability in the law had led to distinguished position with great corporations; his ranching and developing of oil and gas properties have been conducted on so large a scale as seemingly might have been weighty enough interests to engage the ordinary man; his political foresight and intnition have caused his selection for public office as high as he would accept, but not upon these evidences of keen foresight and broad vision rests Mr. Low’s most enduring fame. It is as a railroad builder he will be recalled by the people of Kansas who have so proflted through his tireless energy. Marcus A. Low was born August 1, 1842, in the State of Maine. When four years old his parents, Frederick P. and Mary J. (Robinson) Low, moved to Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois, where the father engaged in farming and other occupations. In 1869 the family moved to Hamilton, Missouri, and that place continued to be the home of the parents during the remainder of their lives. In the public schools of Belvidere Marcus A. Low continued until he was fifteen years of age, at which time he entered the academy at Auburn, Maine, with...

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Biography of Charles J. Price

Topeka had in Charles J. Price as a resident one of the most capable mining engineers of the country. His had been an experience very much out of the ordinary. Nearly forty years ago he was a mine worker in the Black Hill region. He had a practical working knowledge of the mincral sections of the northwest country. He spent a number of years as a mining engineer in South Africa, and probably no American citizen had a closer knowledge of the people, the industrial conditions, of South Africa than Mr. Price. While there he served with the rank of captain in the British army during the Boer war. Born in County Kent, England, January 20, 1857, he was brought by his parents in 1858 to the United States. John and Buth (Relf) Price located in Sullivan County, New York, where his father was engaged in railroad construction work. In 1869, having a relative in Kansas and thinking that better opportunities were to be found in the West, John Price moved to Atchison and while there assisted in building the Missouri Pacific and Atchison and Nebraska (now a part of the Burlington system) Railroad. All his later years were spent in Kansas, and he died in Topeka in 1912. His widow still survives him and lives with her daughter, Mrs. Charles McClintock, in Topeka. All of their nine children...

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Biography of Milton G. Hope

It is with pleasure that we are enabled to incorporate in the volume of the history of the County of Malheur an epitome of the career of the estimable gentleman, careful and capable business man, and sturdy pioneer of this section, since he is a man of ability, has shown commendable zeal in the development of the country, has gained’ a handsome holding in this County, is a man of sound principles, and well known for integrity and uprightness. The birth of Mr. Hope occurred in Brookville, Vernon County, Wisconsin, on August 31, 1859 his parents being George W. and Emeline (Williams) Hope. The account of the father’s noble service in the war of the rebellion, the mother’s moves to Kansas and so forth, are mentioned in another portion of this work and need not he repeated here. Our subject was educated in the common schools and later took a course in the Institute at Atchison, Kansas. He went with his mother to Kansas, Brown County, in 187o, in 1873, went to Norton County, and in 188o he went to Colorado, and the following year, his brother, Isaiah, mention of whom is made in this book, came and they went into partnership, in which they have continued since. In 1882 they came to Wood River, Idaho, and the next year they came to Malheur County, each entering a homestead...

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Biography of Luther Cortelyou

Luther Cortelyou was for many years one of the prominent grain merchants of Kansas, and in later years had given his chief attention to the management of the Farmers State Bank of Muscotah, of which he is president. Mr. Cortelyou had resided in Muscotah for nearly thirty years. His family is a prominent one in Atchison County, and his son Peter J. is now postmaster of Muscotah. Mr. Cortelyou was born in Somerset County, New Jersey, December 23, 1851, and is descended from some of the original stock of the Jersey Coast. His ancestors were both Dutch and French. In 1701 a Dutch company from Long Island bought a tract of 10,000 acres in Franklin Township, Somerset County. Among the men in the enterprise were Peter Cortelyou and Jacques Cortelyou. In those early days the name was sometimes spelled Cortilleau. Jacques Cortelyou had arrived in New Amsterdam about 1651 as private tutor to the children of a prominent Dutch family, Van Werkhoven. Jacques Cortelyou married Neltje Van Duyn, and both were of French extraction. Among their children was Jacques h. Hendrick, son of the second Jacques, was born April 11, 1711, and settled on lands owned by his father adjoining the tract of 10,000 acres bought by Peter Cortalyou and others. Hendrick married, August 3, 1731, Antie Coeste Van Voorhees. Their son Hendriek married Sarah Scothoff. Hendrick, third, born...

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Biography of Edward P. Pitts, M. D.

Edward P. Pitts, M. D.,is a well known specialist at Atchison, where he had practiced as an eye, ear, nose and throat physician and surgeon for fifteen years. He is a native of Virginia and his ancestry for several generations lived in that part of the South. He was born in Northampton County, Virginia, October 13, 1880. This branch of the Pitts family came out of England and settled in Maryland in Colonial times. Doctor Pitts’ grandfather, Edward P. Pitts, was born in Somerset County, Maryland, in 1821, and became a prominent lawyer. He lived at Norfolk, Virginia, where he died in 1881, and for about thirty years had been judge of the Circuit Court. Doctor Pitts’ father, Edward D. Pitts, was also a prominent lawyer. He was born in Northampton County in 1849, was reared and married there, and graduated in law from the University of Virginia. For a time he practiced at Eastville in Northampton County, but subsequently took up practice at Norfolk, where he was active in his profession until his death in 1909. In early manhood he served as clerk of the court at Eastville. He was a democrat, a member of the Episcopal Church, and was affiliated with the Masonic order. Edward D. Pitts married Emory W. West, who was born in Northampton County, Virginia, in 1850 and is now living at Norfolk in...

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Biography of Holmes Dysinger, Rev.

Rev. Holmes Dysinger has for the past twelve years been connected with the Western Theological Seminary of the Lutheran Church at Atchison, and since 1910 had been dean of the seminary. He had spent more than thirty years in the work of the church as a minister and as an educator, and had been connected with prominent schools and pastorates in nearly all parts of the country. Mr. Dysinger is of an old Pennsylvania family and was born at Mifflin, that state, March 26, 1853. The Dysingers’ original home was in Southern Germany. They came across the ocean and settled in Pennsylvania not long after William Penn planted his colony there. Joseph Dysinger, father of Rev. Dr. Dysinger, was born in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, in 1824, and for seventy years was a resident of Walker Township in that county. In early years he followed contracting but later was a farmer. He finally retired to Mifflin and died in that Pennsylvania city in November, 1904. Politleally he was a democrat and a very active member of the Lutheran Church. Joseph Dysinger married Mary A. Patterson, who was born in Walker Township, Juniata County, near Mifflin, in 1831. She is now living at the venerable age of eighty-six, at Atchison. A brief record of the seven children is: Austin, who was a teacher and died at Ottawa, Illinois, in January, 1905;...

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Biography of William Edward Davis

William Edward Davis is the youngest state auditor Kansas had ever had and one of the youngest men who ever held such an official dignity in any of the states. It may also be added, to express a general opinion current at the capital and over the state, that Mr. Davis’ administration as suditor had been a synonym of efficiency and economy. He represents that splendid type of young American manhood which had drawn attention by its capacity for accomplishment. Though most of his life had been spent in the Middle West, he was born in West Virginia, and his ancestors had lived there for several generations. He was born on a farm in Hampshire County, July 14, 1875, a son of John William and Hannah Catherine (Timbrook) Davis. His paternal grandfather, Eli Davia, was born in what is now Hardy County, West Virginia, then Old Virginia. He married a Miss Evans. Gipson P. Timbrook, the maternal grandfather, married a Miss Hott. John W. Davis was born in Hardy County, West Virginia, May 26, 1851, while his wife was born in Hampshire County, July 12, 1854. Both parenta are still living, residents of Shawnee County, Kansas, removing there from Carroll County, Missouri, in November, 1915, and they naturally take much pride in the accomplishments of their son. When William E. Davis was nine years old, his parents moved to Carroll...

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Biography of Willis J. Bailey

Willis J. Bailey, who was governor of Kansas from 1903 to 1905, had been a resident of the state since 1879 and had long stood as a leader in agricultural affairs, as a banker, and as a member of the republican party. His home is now in the City of Atchison, where he is vice president and managing officer of the Exchange National Bank. His administration as governor of Kansas is made the subject of some paragraphs in an appropriate place on other pages of this history. The following is intended merely as a biographical statement of his career and with some notice of his varied and effective interests as a Kansan. Willis J. Bailey was born at Mount Carroll, Illinois, October 12, 1854, and is of New England ancestry and descended from a long line of whigs and republicans. The Baileys came out of England and were colonial settlers in Massachusetts prior to the year 1640. Governor Bailey’s grandfather, Joshua Bailey, was born in 1780 and served in the War of 1812 as a member of Captain Tomlinson’s company. For many years he lived on a farm in Warren County, New York, but in 1845 moved out to Mount Carroll, Illinois, and continued farming in that community until his death in 1870. He was a whig during the existence of that party, and then became a republican. He was one...

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Biography of Edward C. Willis

Edward C. Willis, superintendent of the State Orphans Home at Atchison, is a graduate of Dartmouth College and came to kansas nearly forty years ago with the equipment and training of a oultured New Englander. His work in this state had been largely of an educational nature, and he had taught, had been superintendent of schools, and was finally appointed to his present post at Atchison, where he had served with the exception of two years since 1907. Nearly all of Mr. Willis’ ancestors were colonial families of New England. The Willis family came originally from the northern part of England and settled in Massachnsetts as early as 1638. His grandfather, Joseph Willis, was born at Mount Holly, Vermont, in 1779, was a Vermont farmer, served as a soldier in the War of 1812, and died at Bridgewater, Vermont, in 1866. He married Hannah O’Headle, who was of Irish descent. Joseph E. Willis, father of Edward C., was born at Mount Holly, Vermont, in 1815. He grew up in his native locality, was a Vermont farmer and became a prominent citizen of that state. For many terms he served as a selectman at Bridgewater, and was a member of the Vermont Legislature more than twenty years. At the beginning of the Civil war in 1861 he enlisted and became colonel of a Vermont regiment, seeing active service until the...

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Biography of Albert E. Mayhew

Albert E. Mayhew, who had lived in Kansas since early boyhood, had built up the leading hardware business at Effingham in Atchison County, is also a banker there, and is now serving his second term as a representative in the State Legislature. Mr. Mayhew was born at St. Mary’s, Canada, March 17, 1866, and was brought to Kansas by his parents when he was four years of age. He grew up at Centralia, was educated there in the public schools, graduating from high school in 1883, and for one year was a student in the State Normal School at Emporia. Before engaging in business he taught three years in Nemaha County, Kansas. His business experience began as clerk in different stores. After two years he went into merchandising for himself at Vermillion, Kansas, and was profitably established there until 1899. In that year Mr. Mayhew came to Effingham and built and founded his present hardware store, which is the largest in this section of Atchison County. His two-story building is located on Main Street, and he had extended his trade relations over all that part of the county and draws some trade which normally would go to the City of Atchison. Mr. Mayhew’s father, William Mayhew, was a Kansas pioneer. He was born in Lancastershire, England, in 1832, and at the age of thirteen ran away from home, erossed...

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Biography of James M. Chisham

James M. Chisham. Perhaps no one had been more closely identified with the public affairs and public ntilitias of Atchison than Mr. James M. Chisham, who is now superintendent of the Atchison Water Company. For a number of years he filled official positions in the city’s government, and helped make Atchison a city of medern improvements, including paved streets, and possessed of those public utilities which are insoparable from health and convenience. He is an old resident of Atchison, having come to the city when a child. He had fought his own way to success. He was born in Randolph County, Missouri, December 23, 1859. His ancestors, the Chishams, came from Scotland, were early settlers in Virginia, in colonial times, and from there the family moved to Kentucky and later to Missouri. Mr. Chisham’s grandfather Chisham was a Randolph County, Missouri, pioneer, and spent his life there as a farmer. Mr. Chishem’s maternal grandfather Palmer went out to California during the gold excitement of the early ’50s, and while returning by way of the Isthmus of Panama was lost on the Gulf of Mexico. George Chisham, father of James M. Chisbam, was born in Missouri, in 1836, spent his active career as a farmer and died in Randolph County in 1862. He was a democrat in politics. His wife, Elizabeth Palmer, was born in Missouri in 1838 and died...

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Biography of Balie Peyton Waggener Hon.

Hon. Balie Peyton Waggener, of Atchison, is easily one of the most distinguished Kansans of the present generation. A half century had come and gone since he came to Atchison as a young law student He practiced with eminent success, is one of the ablest railroad attorneys in the United States, and for a number of years had carried the responsibilities of the office of general solicitor for the Missouri Pacifie Railway Company. Mr. Waggener is much more than an eminent lawyer. He had served with fidelity and conspicuous ability in high public places. The power he had come to exert through his profession and through his business interests as a banker had been applied to the welfare of his home city and the state at large. But the distinction which he cherishes most is a title conferred upon him not by reason of his professional prominence, nor by public office nor by learned institutions, but a spontaneous tribute from the most discriminating of all eritics of greatness–the title “children’s friend.” Mr. Waggener is of old American ancestry. His great-grandfather fought with the rank of lieutenant in the American war for independence. His grandfather subsequently served as major in the United States Army during the War of 1812. Mr. Waggener’s parents, Peyton R. and Sophronia Briseis (Willis) Waggener, were pioncers in Northwestern Missouri, and it was at their home...

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