Location: Coffey County KS

Biographical Sketch of Colonel and Judge Oscar E. Learnard

Colonel and Judge Oscar E. Learnard, one of the founders of Burlington, for many years a resident of Lawrence, one of the organizers of the republican party in Kansas and prominent in numerous state institutions and enterprises, was born at Fairfax, Vermont, November 14, 1832. He was of English and Franch Huguenot stock. In 1855, the year after his graduation from the Albany Law School, Mr. Learnard came to Kansas and located at Lawrence, and the next year he commanded a “mounted regiment” of the free-state forces in the border war. In the spring of 1857 he helped to locate and lay out the Town of Burlington, where he built the first mill, the first business house, and a building used for school and church purposes. He was a member of the Council in the first freestate Legislature (1857); was president of the convention which met at Osawatomie on May 18, 1859, and organized the republican party in Kansas; and after the state government was established became judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit. That position he resigned to enter the army as lieutenant-colonel of the First Kansas Infantry, and served on the staffs of Generals Hunter and Denver until 1863, when he resigned his commission. When Price undertook to enter Kansas, in the fall of 1864, Colonel Learnard again joined the forces for the defense of the state, and...

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Biography of Leonard R. Manley

The value of a useful trade, of making one’s energy count toward one thing, of forging steadily ahead, regardless of obstaeles and discouragements, finds emphatic expression in the life of Leonard R. Manley, president and manager of the Topeka Pure Milk Company, the largest concern dealing exclusively in milk in the State of Kansas. When Mr. Manley first came to Topeka, it was in a humble capacity, but he was a thorough master of his trade, and possessed the ambition, energy and ability to better and elevate himself, so that he had shapod his abilities to his needs, had made the most of his opportunities, and had finally taken his place among the leading business men of his adopted city. Mr. Manley was born at Nortonville, Jefferson County, Kansas, September 29, 1873, one of the five children born to George F. and Anna (Reed) Manley, natives respectively of Indiana and Missouri. His paternal grandfather was Garlington B. Manley, a native of Indiana, who took his family to Kansas in 1860 and located in Coffey County on a farm. The activities of the border ruffians in the period of the first year of the Civil war, however, caused him to give up his new home and moved, in 1862 to Leavenworth County, where he resided until 1885. In the latter year he went to Jefferson County, and there continued to...

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Biography of John Child Maxson, M. D.

John Child Maxson, M. D. For over twenty-four years Doctor Maxson had practiced his profession in Kansas and is now located at Corning, where as a physician and surgeon of thorough attainments he had an extensive practice. His family were early settlers in Sonthern and Southeastern Kansas. Doctor Maxson is in the tenth generation from the immigrant of the family from England to the American colonies. The founder of the Maxson family in this country was Richard Maxson. Doctor Maxson’s grandfather, James Maxson, spent his life as a farmer in Alleghany County, New York. James S. Maxson, father of Doctor Maxson, was born in Alleghany County, New York, in 1823. He grew up there, and when a young man went to Wisconsin, where he married. For some years he taught school both in Kentucky and Wisconsin. In the fall of 1873 he moved to Lyon County, Kansas, and was one of the early settlers there. By trade he was a painter, and he combined that occupation with farming until 1880, when he removed to Coffey County for three years and then for ten years lived at Parsons in Labette County and finally located at Erie in Neosho County. Late in life he retired to Kelly, Kansas, and died there in 1905, Twice during the Civil war he tried to get enrolled in the Union army, but was rejected on...

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Biographical Sketch of Miohakl Joseph McManus, Rev.

Rev. Miohakl Joseph McManus is pastor of St. Michael Archangel’s Church at Wheaton. Father MeManus had lived in America ten years and most of his work as a priest had been done in Kansas. A record of good deeds and capable service preceded him to Wheaton, and in this parish his good work had continued and had brought him high favor both with his own parishioners and non-Catholic people. Father McManus was born in County Mayo, Ireland, May 4, 1881. As a boy he attended the national schools and obtained his classical education in Mount Melleray College, County Waterford, where he was graduated in 1902. He prepared for the priesthood in St. John’s Seminary at the City of Waterford, graduating in 1906. He landed in New York October 26, 1907, and en route to the West he visited a friend at Cleveland a day and reached Kansas City, Missouri, October 29, 1907. Soon afterward, in order to acquaint himself with American manners of life, he entered the Cincinnati Seminary and was ordained a priest June 7, 1908. Father McManus said his first mass at St. Catherine’s Church in Cleveland. From July to November, 1908, he was assistant pastor to Father Kuhl in St. Mary’s Church in Kansas City, and was then connected with the Catholic Orphans Home at Leavenworth until July, 1910. His first regular pastorate was at St....

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Biography of Wilfred B. Gasche

Wilfred B. Gasche. One of the best known figures in fire insurance circles of Kansas, and, in fact, of the West, is Wilfred B. Gasche, president since 1900 of the Alliance Co-Operative Insurance Company of Kansas, president of the Kansas State Association of Mutual Insurance Companies for the same length of time, and president of the National Association for two terms. Mr. Gasche was one of the earliest promoters of mutual insurance in the Sunflower state, and had steadily advanced in this connection, until he is today a national figure in this line of indemnity against loss. He is a native of Ohio, having been born on a farm in Fulton County, February 3, 1859, a son of Jacob and Elisabeth (Pelton) Gasche, and had been a resident of Kansas since 1886. Jacob Gasche was born in Witzlar, Prussia, and there received his education. He became a thorough linguist, speaking French, Spanish and German fluently, and also being able to translate and write English, although not able to speak the letter language until after he came to America. In his young manhood he adopted the vocation of educator, and until he was twenty-seven years of age was engaged in teaching schools in the vicinity of his native home. At that time his parents, becoming dissatisfied with the congested conditions which existed in their native land and hearing of the...

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Biography of Charlie H. Riker

Charlie H. Riker. At Gage’s Park, on West Sixth Street Road, near Topeks, is situated one of the most beautiful suburban homes of this locality, that belonging to Charlie H. Riker, who for many years had been engaged in agricultural pursuits in Kansas. Mr. Riker was reared a farmer and is the son of a pioneer of 1870, since which time with the exception of several years spent in Ohio, he had been engaged in operations in different parts of the Sunflower State, and in each locality in which operations have been centered, he had not only made a success of his undertakings, but had established a reputation as a public-spirited and progressive citizen. Charlie H. Riker was born in Logan County, Ohio, in 1866, and is a son of William J. and Susanna. (Custenborder) Riker. He is connected with the Custenborder, Riker and Ferris families, all of which were early settlers of Ohio and at first settled near Cincinnati, from whence their members went not only to various parts of the Buckeye State but to other parts of the country, where they became men and women of substance and worth and won success in the various occupations in which humankind may engage. William J. Riker was born in Champaign County, Ohio, and as a young man, after securing a public school education, learned the trade of carpenter. This...

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Biography of Will R. Burge

Will R. Burge. Trained faculties and an enlightened understanding are necessary requisites of a newspaper man in these modern days. The responsibility resting upon the man in eharge of the policy and editorial branch of a newspaper is heavy and should not be lightly assumed. From the time of the discovery of the art of printing, the power of the Fourth Estate has been great, and fortunate indeed is the community whose newspapers are directed and controlled by men of real worth, integrity and knowledge. In Will R. Burge, the City of Cherryvale has a newspaper man of this enlightened class. As proprietor and editor of the Cherryvale Republican he is doing much to forward the interests of his community, and under his management the sheet is becoming a power in Southeastern Kansas affairs. Mr. Burge was born in a log house in the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, October 18, 1880, and is a son of S. B. and Josephine (Grubb) Burge. The Burge family originated in Germany, where the name was originally spelled “Buradge,” and during the days preceding the American Revolution was founded in this country, one of the early members settling in Ohio. John Burge, the grandfather of Will R. Burge, was born in Ohio, and for many years followed farming in Paulding County, Ohio. Although past middle age when the Civil war came on, he...

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Biography of Joseph L. Strickler

Joseph L. Strickler. In reviewing the lives of the business men of Cherryvale, especially in regard to the establishment and growth of the oil industry, it who have taken part in this work have been those who have brought with them from other parts of the state and country reputations for honorable dealing, and capability for accomplishment of purpose. Associated with the oil industry of this part of the state is the name of Joseph L. Strickler, who came to Cherryvale in 1902 and is now probably the largest independent producer in this locality. Mr. Strickler has been identified with the oil business practically since he started upon his career and has had experience in various fields. He was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, December 19, 1872, and is a son of William Baker and Mary (Foutz) Strickler. The Strickler family is of German origin and was founded in America previous to the Revolution, the American progenitor settling in the colony of Virginia. John Strickler, the grandfather of Joseph L., was born in 1808, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and was a marble cutter by trade, but on going as a pioneer to Fairfield County, Ohio, took up farming as his vocation and homesteaded 160 acres. He also built the old half-way house between Lancaster and Pleasantville, which he conducted for many years, and there continued to reside...

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Biography of William Wallace Brown

William Wallace Brown, general attorney at Parsons for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway and a director in that railway company, is one of Kansas’ prominent lawyers with many well earned distinctions in the profession. The secret of his success has been hard work. He began practice only after a thorough preliminary training of self reliance and after getting his professional education through his own earnings and efforts. A native of Kansas, he represents a pioneer family. Mr. Brown was born in Coffey County July 29, 1868. He is of English ancestry. His grandfather Robert Brown was born in England, brought his family to America in 1845, and became a contractor and builder in the State of Iowa. While still at work in his business he was struck by a beam and that caused his death about 1857. He died in Iowa. Charles Brown, father of W. W. Brown, was born at Beverly, Yorkshire, England, November 14, 1832. He was thirteen years of age when he came to America and he grew up at Maquoketa, Iowa. After finishing his education he became a farmer. In 1857 at the age of twenty-five he moved from Maquoketa, Iowa, to Kansas, and was one of the early settlers in the territory. His permanent home was on a farm along the line between Anderson and Coffey counties. A few years after coming to...

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Biography of Henry Seymour Sewell

Henry Seymour Sewell. For a man of forty years Henry S. Sewell has had more than an ordinary record of success in business affairs. He is one of the well known merchants of Independence, owns extensive properties in that city and in other sections of Southern Kansas, and all his prosperity is a result of continued concentrated effort through the years since he left home and started out to carve his own career. Born in Montgomery County, Kansas, October 4, 1876, Henry Scymour Sewell is a son of J. B. and Mary M. (James) Sewell, and a grandson of J. G. and Catherine (Maybury) Sewell. His grandparents were among the early pioneers of Montgomery County, having arrived here in 1871 and taking up a homestead about twelve miles from Independence. They were Tennessee people, steady, industrious, people of high principles, and in the past forty-five years the family has left its mark on affairs in Montgomery County in many ways. Mr. J. B. Sewall, father of the Independence merchant, is now in the mercantile business and is postmaster at Bolton, and his career is sketched on other pages of this publication. While a boy Henry S. Sewell attended the public schools of Montgomery County. As he was one of a family of nine children, he saw the necessity of self-support at an early age, and therefore contributed all his...

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Biography of David Crawford Thoroman

David Crawford Thoroman. The first of his name to come to Kansas, the late David Crawford Thoroman was for many years engaged in school teaching and farming in Coffey and Osage counties, and is still remembered by the older residents as a man of upright character, possessed of a high sense of justice. His experiences during the Civil war had placed upon him the handicap of being weak physically, but his energetic spirit and industry helped him to overcome this in large part, and throughout his career he was a useful member of whatever community he made his home. David C. Thoroman was born in Adams County, Ohio, in 1824, of English descent, and when a young man went to Lewis County, in the northeastern part of Kentucky, where he was married to Katherine Murphy. Thus early he was a schoolteacher and agriculturist and was so engaged when the Civil war broke out. Mr. Thoroman enlisted in Company E, Twenty-second Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and had his baptism of fire in Cumberland Gap, where he took part in a severe engagement. Subsequently he was in the battles around Vicksburg, including Milliken’s Bend, Big Black River and the numerous encounters leading up to the surrender of the besieged city, and later took part in the engagement at Arkansas Post. Just prior to the Red River expedition under General Banks, in...

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Biography of Charles N. Converse

Charles N. Converse. Identified with banks and banking all through his business life, Charles N. Converse, president of the Citizens State Bank of Altoona, Kansas, is widely known in financial circles where his judgment is deemed sound and accurate, and his reputation had long been that of a forcible, able and efficient business man. Charles N. Converse was born at Clinton, Illinois, June 22, 1863. His parents were Henry E. and Clara (Weaver) Converse, and his grandfathers were John Converse and Solomon Weaver. Solomon Weaver emigrated from Germany in boyhood and grew up at Clinton, Illinois, in which neighborhood he engaged in farming and there he died in 1883. On the paternal side the family traces its ancestry to France and when the first of the name, two brothers, came together to the American colonies, they spelled it Congiers. The brothers separated, one settling at Boston, Massachusetts, and the other at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John Converse, the paternal grandfather, was born at Woburn, Massachusetts, February 14, 1813, and died at Clinton, Illinois, in June, 1880. He was an early settler in DeWitt County, Illinois, and a pioneer shoemaker at Clinton. He was a member of the Baptist Church and a good and worthy citizen. He married Eurania Nelson, who was born at Sutton, Massachusetts, in 1815, and died at Clinton, Illinois, in 1890. Of their family of children one survives,...

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Biography of John William Wallace

John William Wallace is one of the able and progressive educators in Kansas, now superintendent of schools at Reading. He came to this city from Americus in the fall of 1716. He is a young Kansan by birth and tradition, and had brought to his work as an educator not only thorough training but also a loyal appreciation of this great state and her institutions. He is of Scotch stock, his great-grandfather having come from Scotland to Massachusetts about the time of the Revolutionary war. Later the family settled in Mohawk Valley of New York. Professor Wallace’s father is J. V. Wallace, who was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 1862, and is now a farmer and stockman at Waverly in Coffey County, Kansas, where he settled in 1882, when that section of the state was an open range. J. V. Wallace spent the first seven years of his life in his native state, then removed to Iowa, and was married after he came to Coffey County, Kansas. He is a republican who had taken a very active part in county affairs and had served as a member of state conventions. He belongs to the Methodist Church and to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. The maiden name of his wife was Minnie Bazil, who was born in Shelby County, Illinois, in 1868. In the family were fourteen children,...

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Biography of Terry A. Parkinson

The name of Terry A. Parkinson has been prominently connected with the agricultural and stock raising interests of Oklahoma for many years. Kansas claims him as a native son, for he was born in Coffey County, that state, in May, 1866, a son of James and Emma Jane (Randall) Parkinson. The father was born near St. Augustine, Illinois, on the 18th of May, 1840, and removed to Iowa with his parents at an early day. When fifteen years of age he ran away from home, and going to Kansas became identified with the cattle business as night herder of four hundred and fifty head of oxen on freight outfit work, oxen which were being driven across the plains to the train at Leavenworth, Kansas. He made a trip and a half the first year. Subsequently he went to Leadville, Colorado, where he spent the winter of 1855-56. He then returned to Kansas and was in the employ of Governor Tom Carney. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he was still active in government work and was sent to Indian Territory to look after governmental interests there. He was conscripted into the service but the governor of Kansas secured his release, feeling that he could be of more importance in buying cattle for the Union army. He was active in that connection throughout the conflict. Soon afterward he became...

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Biography of George James Sharp

George James Sharp during the thirty odd years he had lived in Elk County had been a farmer, school teacher, county official, abstractor and lawyer, and his friends and associates say that whatever he undertakes he does with all the enthusiasm of his nature and to the limit of his ability. He is an exceedingly useful citizen, and his services have for several years been untilized by the City of Howard through the office of mayor. Mr. Sharp was born on a farm in Hendricks County, Indiana, December 26, 1862, a son of William P. and Anna T. (Higgins) Sharp. He had a very interesting ancestral record. The first Americans of the name were Scotch-Irish people who came from the north of Ireland to Virginia in colonial days. Mr. Sharp is descended from revolutionary ancestors on both sides. His great-great-grandfather, James Sharp, participated in the struggle for independence and became a celebrated scout both during that war and afterwards in the western wilderness. This revolutionary patriot was born in Virginia, but after the Revolutionary war he moved across the mountains and settled in Kentucky. In Bath County, Kentucky, is a town named Sharpsburg, where a number of the Sharp family settled in pioneer times. The village was named in honor of Moses Sharp, a relative of the branch of the family now being considered. Moses Sharp was in the...

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