Location: Crawford County KS

Biographical Sketch of Capt. John Hamilton

Capt. John Hamilton, acting under orders from Gen. Zachary Taylor, founded Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1842. He was a native of Pennsylvania, a soldier in the regular army, and first came to Kansas as a youth of nineteen and a United States dragoon, stationed at Fort Leavenworth. In 1842, as a sergeant of the First Dragoons, under Capt. Benjamin D. Moore, he left Fort Wayne, Cherokee Nation, to assist in selecting a site and to establish a military post in Kansas. There wore twenty men in the party and, after selecting the ground, the captain and surgeon of the expedition, detailed directly under Sergeant Hamilton, returned to Fort Wayne, leaving the execution of the work to the latter. Sergeant Hamilton himself cut the first tree on the site of Fort Scott on the 9th of April, 1842, an additional working force was sent in the following month, and in June Captain Moore, with two companies of the First Dragoons, arrived to take command of the post. Maj. William M. Graham and Capt. Thomas Swords were afterwards placed in command, Hamilton being quartermaster sergeant under the latter. He was then appointed ordnance sergeant by the secretary of war and ordered to Fort Jessup, Louisiana. After serving his term of enlistment in the army Sergeant Hamilton returned to Fort Scott in March, 1855, and became a permaneut resident of that place....

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Biographical Sketch of Alexander P. Riddle

Alexander P. Riddle, a widely known newspaper man and public character of Ottawa County, was born at Harlansburg, Pennsylvania, August 16, 1846. He learned his trade as a printer in the office of the Franklin (Pennsylvania) Spectator, and in 1869 came to Kansas as a “jour.” He first located at Olathe; then moved to Girard, where he set type and became half owner of the Press. In 1885 he sold his interest and settled at Minneapolis, which has since been his home. There he purchased the Minneapolis Messenger, which he still publishos and edits, as well as the Kansas Workman and Sprig of Myrtle. Mr. Riddle has been prominent in state matters, his public services commencing in 1877, when he was chosen journal clerk of the State Senate and served thus for two years. In 1881-3 he represented Bourbon and Crawford counties in the upper house of the Legislature, and in 1884 was elocted lioutenant governor on the tieket headed by John A. Martin. He was re-elected in 1886 and in 1896 was appointed suporintendent of insurance. Mr. Riddle has also been prominent in the affairs of the Knights of Pythias and Odd Fellows, having served as grand master of the...

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Biography of Charles Wood Davis

A significantly varied, distinguished and interesting career was that of the late Charles Wood Davis, and fortunate it was for the State of Kansas that he early established his residence within its borders, for his splendid initiative and executive powers came most effectively into play in the furtherance of the eivic, industrial and general material development and progress of this commonwealth. He was one of the famous argonauts of the year 1849 in California, was long and prominently identified with railway interests, was a recognized authority in all matters pertaining to the basic industry of agriculture, was a pioneer in the exploiting of the coal-mining industry in Kansas, and there seemed to be no bounds set about his constructive energy and broad-minded public spirit. By very reason of his two personal names he became widely known and highly honored throughout the Middle West by the sobriquet of “Cotton Wood Davis.” He was one of the venerable and honored pioneer citizens of Sedgwick County, Kansas, at the time of his death, and it is signally fitting that in this history of the state and its people be entered a tribute to the memory of this strong, resourceful and noble man. Charles Wood Davis was born at South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on the 17th of April, 1832, and was a scion of the staunchest of colonial stock in New England, where his...

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Slave Narrative of Charley Williams

Person Interviewed: Charley Williams Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma Date of Birth: Jan. 11, 1843 Age: 94 Iffen I could see better out’n my old eyes, and I had me something to work with and de feebleness in my back and head would let me ‘lone, I would have me plenty to eat in de kitchen all de time, and plenty tobaccy in my pipe, too, bless God! And dey wouldn’t be no rain trickling through de holes in de roof, and no planks all fell out’n de flo’ on de gallery neither, ’cause dis one old nigger knows everything about making all he need to git along! Old Master done showed him how to git along in dis world, jest as long as he live on a plantation, but living in de town is a different way of living, and all you got to have is a silver dime to lay down for everything you want, and I don’t git de dime very often. But I aint give up! Nothing like dat! On de days when I don’t feel so feeble and trembly I jest keep patching ’round de place. I got to keep patching so as to keep it whar it will hold de winter out, in case I git to see another winter. Iffen I don’t, it don’t grieve me none, ’cause I wants to see old Master...

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Biography of Asahel Strawn

The year 1860 saw the arrival of the Strawn family in Kansas and their settlement in Crawford County. They had come a long distance, traveling from Illinois in a covered wagon and one can well believe that the new home, although a primitive one, presented a pleasant sight to the weary travelers. Asahel Strawn and his wife, Bridget (Murphey) Strawn, with their five children, George W., William A., Betsey Ann, Mahala and Julia, made up the party. Asahel Strawn was born in Canada, a son of Joab Strawn, who was a descendant of William Penn and a Quaker. He went to Canada, perhaps from Pennsylvania, and there became the father of eight sons, each one of these being given a Biblical name and seven grew to maturity. In all probability it would have pleased him had his son Asahel selected a Quakeress for his bride, but it is not known that he objected to the admirable selection the son made. It was otherwise, however with Lanrence and Elizabeth (Harley) Murphey, who, being devout Catholies, could not consent that their daughter Elizabeth should marry outside the church. Therefore the young people had no other recourse than to run away and marry and this union proved one of lomestie happiness. The father of Mrs. Strawn was from County Wexford, Ireland, and was a soldier in the British army and fought at...

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Biography of Charles Estabrook Cory

Charles Estabrook Cory, of Fort Scott, divides with Hon. J. G. Slonecker, of Topeka, the honor of being the two oldest referees in bankruptey in continuous service in the State of Kansas, Both were appointed to this office in 1898, before the Bankruptey Law actually went into effect. Mr. Cory received his first appointment from Hon. Cassius G. Foster, and was continued in office by reappointment from Judge William O. Hook, and his last several appointments came from Hon. John C. Pollock. As a lawyer Mr. Cory had been identified with Fort Scott for over thirty years. He began his career in Southeastern Kansas as a teacher more than forty years ago. He is a Canadian by birth, having been born at Dumfries, Ontario, December 2, 1853, son of Nathaniel Vail and Eleanor (Springstead) Cory. His father was a native of New Brunswick and his mother of Ontario. Reared on a farm, educated in the public schools of Oxford County, Ontario, Charles E. Cory on reaching his majority came to Kansas in 1874. For the next nine years he taught almost eontinuously in Neosho and Crawford counties. Mr. Cory had a distinguished preccptor in his legal studies. In 1883 he entered the office at Fort Scott of Hon. Eugene F. Ware, “Ironquill,” and under that eminent man, distinguished not less in the law than in the field of poctry...

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Biography of Ebenezer F. Porter, Hon.

For nearly a quarter of a century the Hon. Ebenezer F. Porter, State Senator from the Ninth Senatorial District, had been one of the powers and potential forces in business and in politics, in material progress and in educational affairs in that seetion of the state. He had, from an early age, borne a large share of his father’s as well as his own responsibilities in business affairs and had been forced to deal with matters of far more than ordinary importance. Notwithstanding the extent and seape of his activities, it may be said without fear of contradiction that he had never failed in any of his enterprises. He had gained among his associates the reputation of going straight to the mark in any enterprise with which he is identified, and with a definite goal for his efforts had not failed to securing whatever he went after. While he had been connected with a number of large interests during his career, yet he had never allowed himself to be so concerned with them that they receive his attention to the neglect of any detail of his other interests. His friends have said of him that everything he does is thoughtfully planned out beforehand, and with his foundation thus well built, his business structures invariably rise to a suceessful completion. Aside from pure business matters, his intense energy and trained...

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Biographical Sketch of L. R. Smilie

MR. L. R. SMILIE, one of the proprietors, is a native of Pennsylvania. In early childhood he moved with his parents to Livingston County, Illinois, and in 1866 they again turned their faces westward, locating in Crawford County, Kan. Mr. Smilie was a successful farmer, and remained at this place until 1884, when he went to Boone County, Arkansas, where he first engaged in the saw milling business and later in flour milling. He has two sons: Robert Percy and Charles Oscar...

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Biography of W. F. Ryan

W. F. RYAN, another of the proprietors of the The Harrison Roller Mill Company, has been a resident of the county since 1885, having come thither from Kansas, but was born in Clark County, Illinois, February 12, 1858. His father, Jacob M. Ryan, was born in Ohio, but at an early day became a resident of Clark County, Illinois, later moved to Kansas, and in 1882 came to Boone County, Arkansas, where he died in June, 1893, having been an extensive lumber dealer of Harrison. He was a soldier in Company G, Fifty-fourth Regiment of Volunteers, during the war, belonged to the Republican party, and while a resident of Crawford County, Kan., held the office of sheriff two terms, and justice of the peace several terms. He followed merchandising and farming in Illinois, and while in Kansas tilled the soil. His widow, whose maiden name was Abbie Ann, divides her time between her daughter, Mrs. L. R. Smilie, and her son, W. F. Ryan. She bore her husband the following children: Mary R., wife of J. B. Houck, a member of the milling company; Robert O., who is living in Newton County, Arkansas; Wilbur F., of the above-mentioned firm; Reginald C., who is a farmer of the State of Washing-ton; Annace L., wife of L. R. Smilie, of the milling company; O. W., who is a lumberman of Harrison,...

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Biography of John D. Burton

John D. Burton. Like many of his contemporaries in the field of journalism in Southeastern Kansas, John D. Burton, proprietor and editor of the Potwin Ledger, began his career at the case. His entire life had been devoted to newspaper work, as compositor, editor and owner of publications in various parts of the country, but principally in Kansas, where he had resided and labored since the fall of 1878. While his present publication was founded only recently, it had already gained a wide circulation and promises to become an organ of influence in public matters under Mr. Burton’s wise and experienced direction. John D. Burton was born at Springfield, Illinois, July 1, 1857, and is a son of David A. and Elizabeth (Tarr) Burton. He comes of a family which, originating in England, was founded in North Carolina by three brothers, William, Thomas and Allen Burton, the last named of whom, his great-grandfather, became a pioneer farmer of Indiana and died in the vicinity of Terre Haute. Allen H. Burton, son of the immigrant, and grandfather of John D. Burton, was born at Charlotte Court House, North Carolina, and was there reared, educated and married. Subsequently he went to Indiana, but later became a pioneer into Williamson County, Illinois, where he condueted a blacksmith shop until his death. He married Cynthia Boyle, a native of Ireland. David A. Burton, father of John D., was...

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Biography of Samuel V. Mallory

Samuel V. Mallory, now superintendent of the city schools of Morrill, Brown County, had been a, Kansas educator for many years. He had been connected at different times with the public schools of three states–Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma–and both as a teacher and administrator his work rests upon the seeure foundation of sincere and effective service. Mr. Mallory had lived in Kansas since early youth and he represents some of the best elements of American ancestry. His great-grandfather, John William Mallory, spent his life in Virginia, having been born near Harper’s Ferry. He married Elizabeth peyton, who was the daughter of an officer in the Revolutionary war. Mr. Mallory’s grandfsther was Valentine Roger Mallory, who was born at Harper’s Ferry in Virginia in 1797, and moved from that state to Sangamon County, Illinois, near the capital at Springfield, and was an early farmer in that district. He died at Springfield in 1866. His wife was Nancy Dawson, a native of Kentucky. Several generations of the family were represented in and around Springfield, Illinois, and it was in that city that Samuel V. Mallory was born April 16, 1856. His father is the venerable R. U. Mallory, who was born at Springfield in 1828 and is still living, nearly ninety years of age, at Morrill, Kansas. He grew up and married at Springfield, became a farmer, and in 1871 migrated...

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Biography of Merle K. Scott, M. D.

Merle K. Scott, M. D. There are few lovers of literature who have not lost themselves in the incomparable romances of sir Walter Scott, and probably the most knowledge that many have ever gained of Scotland had been based on the illuminating writings of her greatest novalist. From that country and from the same stock came the Scotts of Kansas, a prominent reprecentative of which family is Dr. Merle K. Scott, physician and surgeon at Frontanac. Merle K. Scott was born at Coyville, Wilson County, Kansas, April 16, 1878. His parents are Rev. Robert M. and Sarah Kinnear (Kirkpatrick) Scott, who reside on a farm situated one mile weet and one-half mile south of Frontenac, Kansas. Robert M. Scott was born in Owen County, Kentucky, in 1846. About the time he reached manhood his parents removed to Salem, Illinois, and in 1866 he came to Oskaloosa, Kansas. For a time he worked on his pioneer farm. Prior to this, however, in 1861 he onlisted for service in the Civil war, but five months later was injured so seriously that he was compelled to give up military life. He had been reared in the Methodist Episeopal faith and after coming to Oskalooss entered the ministry of that chnrch. He became well known as a minister, serving in many sections, where he was always welecomed. In 1888 he was stationed at...

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Biography of Samuel J. Langdon

Samuel J. Langdon, one of the highly esteemed pioneer farmers of Latah County, is a native of Ohio, having been born at Granville, Licking County, May 4, 1829. He is of Scotch-Irish lineage, and his ancestors were early settlers of Connecticut and participants in the Revolutionary war and in the events which go to form the colonial history of the country. The family is noted for a patriotic spirit, and one of the Langdons served as commander of the colonial forces at the battle of Ticonderoga. Jesse Langdon, the grandfather of our subject, was born and reared in Connecticut and there married Miss Jewett, with whom he later removed to Berkshire, Massachusetts, where he followed the occupation of farming. They were members of the Congregational church, and both attained to a ripe old age. In their family were seven children: Hiram, Anson, Richardson, James J., Albert, Betsy and Eunice H. James J. Langdon, the father of our subject, was born on the old family homestead in Massachusetts, in 1795, and when a young man removed to Licking county, Ohio, where he was married to Miss Mary White, a daughter of Captain Samuel White, who was a prominent citizen of Licking county, and who won his title by commanding a company of the state militia. The maternal great-grandfather of our subject, Thomas Philipps, was a native of Wales, and leaving...

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Biography of John M. Leeper

John M. Leeper. One of the very successful contractors at Topeka is John M. Leeper, who when a young man learned the trade of brick mason, and on that trade as a foundation has built up a large business in brick contracting and the services of his organization has entered into the construction of several of the most conspicuous public buildings in the state. He is a native of Kansas and was born in Lyon County, September 6, 1872, when that section of the state was still well out on the frontier. His parents were Samuel S. and Elizabeth C. (Morey) Leeper. His father was born in Ohio, came to Kansas in 1870, settling in Lyon County, homesteaded a quarter section of land, and lived there as a farmer until his death, which resulted from his being thrown from a horse. His widow, who is now living at Topeka, was born in Iowa, the daughter of Benjamin M. Morey. John M. Leeper received his early education in the district schools of Lyon County. While there he learned the trade of brick layer, followed it as a journeyman for a time, and then began taking contracts as an independent builder. For a number of years his home and business interests has been in Topeka. To mention only a few of the important contracts he has handled, he put in the...

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Biography of Robert Burns Gibb, M. D.

Robert Burns Gibb, M. D. As a surgeon one of the foremost in Kansas in point of ability and prestige is Dr. R. R. Gibb of Pittsburg. Doctor Gibb is still a young man, not yet forty, yet has had the experience and training which have matured his unusual natural gifts and his reputation and position are now well assured. Coming to Kansas after he had completed his medical course, Doctor Gibb was born at Fairbury, Illinois, December 15, 1878. He is of Scotch ancestry His grandfather John Gibb was born in Chapel Hall, Scotland, in 1812. He was in the coal business in Scotland for many years and coming to this country in 1846 located at Lonaconing, Maryland, and afterwards moved to Fairbury, Illinois. He was a well known coal operator, and his relations with that business finally brought him to Pittsburg, Kansas, where he died in 1898. He married Jeannette Stevenson, who was born at Chapol Hall, Scotland, in 1812 and died in Woodson County, Kansas, in 1890. John Gibb, Jr., father of Doctor Gibb, was born in Scotland in 1840, and was brought to America at the age of six years. He spent his early life at Lonaconing, Allegany County, Maryland, and also at Fairbury, Illinois. At Fairbury he became identified with the coal business, and in 1882 removed to Miles City, Montana, where he still...

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