Location: Gettysburg Pennsylvania

Philadelphia To Steubenville

Monday, Oct. 4, 1819.–Dr. Hall and myself left Philadelphia at 1 o’clock p. m. after taking an affectionate leave of friends and acquaintances. Fair and pleasant weather, and the roads very fine in consequence of a refreshing shower of rain which fell on the night previous to our setting out. After traveling twenty-two miles and passing some rich and well-cultivated farms we arrived at West Chester at 7 o’clock. West Chester contains about 600 inhabitants, several places of worship, a gaol, etc., etc. A man named Downey is confined in the gaol of this place for debt. He was once in affluence, but from misfortunes and some imprudence he became reduced in circumstances. During his confinement he determined to starve himself to death, and for seven days had refused nourishment of every description. Even the clergy waited on him and endeavored to dissuade him from his rash determination, offering him food of different kinds, but all without avail. He was able to stand. No doubt one or two more days will end his troubles. How long, O my country, will your cheeks continue to be crimsoned by the blush that must follow the plunging an innocent and unfortunate being, a debtor, in a dungeon, amongst murderers and cut-throats? Tuesday, Oct. 5.–Left West Chester at 7 o’clock a. m. Traveled a rough road. Passed some travelers on foot migrating to...

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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 Rufus Benton Peery

Rufus Benton Peery. There appears on other pages of this publication a history of Midland College at Atchison. In this connection is found an appropriate place for some reference to the career of the president of that well known Kansas institution, Rufas Benton Peery, who after a long and distinguished service as a missionary and, minister of the Lutheran Church took the president’s chair in 1912. Mr. Peery is of old American stock and Revolutionary antecedents. He was born at Burkes Garden, Virginia, April 9, 1868. The Peerys originated in England and in 1741 three brothers, Thomas, William and Edward Peery, immigrated and settled in Pennsylvania. They had been English soldiers, but in the next generation members of the family turued from allegisnce to the Crown and fought gallantly with the patriots for independence. Mr. Peery’s great-grandfather, also named Thomas Peery, was a soldier in that struggle. He died in Pennsylvania. Mr. Peery’s grandfather, also named Thomas Peery, was born in Pennsylvania, and spent his active career as a farmer and stock man in the vicinity of Burkes Garden, Virginia, where he died in 1871. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. The maiden name of his wife was Gose, who was born in Virginia, and died a number of years before her husband at Burkes Garden. Capt. Thomas Peery, father of President Peery, was born at...

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Biography of J. T. B. Gephart

J. T. B. Gephart is president of the Citizens State Bank of City Falls, Jefferson County. Mr. Gephart had been prominently associated with banking in that old town of Kansas for over thirty-four years. The present Citizens State Bank is the logical successor of the old Hicks, Gephart & Company, which was instituted as a private banking house in 1871 by Mr. S. C. Gephart and W. C. Hicks. On the death of Mr. Hicks in 1878 he was succeeded by W. F. Hicks, and the death of S. C. Gephart in 1882 brought his son J. T. B. Oephart into his place. Then in 1888, on the death of W. F. Hicks, Mr. Gephart bought the other interests but continued the bank as a private institution under the name Hicks, Gephart & Company. Then in 1897 the Citizens State Bank was organized and acquired the old firm of Hicks, Gephart & Company. At the present time the offleers are J. T. B. Gephart, president, and Charles T. Gephart, cashier. The banking house is situsted on Broadway and Sycamore streets. While for many years Mr. Gephart had given his almost undivided time and attention to banking, he is known to the older citizens as a very skillful physician and surgeon, and though no longer in practice he can properly be referred to as the pioneer doctor of Valley Falls,...

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Biography of William Gardner Smyser

William Gardner Smyser, now living retired at Topeka, is one of the interesting citizens of the capital city both on account of his individual experiences and his long service as a railroad and constructing engineer, and also because of his family lineage. Ho is connected by family ties with a number of notable Americans. The Smysors came out of Germany and settled in Pennsylvania early in the eighteenth century. The cause of their coming to America was participation in some revolutionary movement in Germany. The original name of the family was Bowemund. The Bowemunds and others had some part in a local rebellion, and as they failed to accomplish their purpose they had to flee the country, and all of them changed their names. The Bowemund immigrant changed his name to Schmeisser, a word meaning in German a person who delivers a blow or a striker. The name had since been changed to its present form. William G. Smyser’s grandfather was George Smyser, who was born in York County, Pennsylvania, and spent his life in that state, largely as a banker. For a number of years he served as an associate judge. He died at Gettysburg. He had served loyally with the American army in the War of 1812. The maiden name of his wife was Catherine Gardner, who was a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania. Daniel M. Smyser, father...

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Biography of Samuel Hummer

Samuel Hummer, by his early settlement and his wide interests as a land owner and business man, is one of the sterling pioneers of Kansas whose names should receive the credit of some record in this publication. He was born near Gettysburg and not far from the battlefield of that name in Adams County, Pennsylvania, in 1811. His father, P. H. Hummer, served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Samuel Hummer grew up in Pennsylvania, followed farming there for a number of years, and in 1868 brought his family out to Kansas. On the 16th of December of that year he ate his first meal in the state at the old Gordon Hotel on East Fourth Street in Topeka. He then settled on his farm and from the first gave particular attention to the raising of good grades of livestock. He was one of the successful men of his time, and lived a long and useful life, which came to its close in 1891 at the age of eighty. In 1835 in Pennsylvania he married Anna Heller. To their marriage were born five daughters and four sons, and those who grew to maturity were Lewis, Hiram, Isabel, June, Clayton, Ann and Samuel Jr. The late Samuel Hummer was a man of deep religious convictions, and for years was identified with the Dunkard Church, doing much to maintain that...

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Biography of James McGrew, Hon.

Hon. James McGrew was one of the historic characters of Kansas, has a place in the history of the state at large because of his early activities and influence as a free state man, and his service in the office of lieutenant governor, while locally he is to be credited with much of the enterprise which entered into the foundation of the present metropolis Kansas City, Kansas. He was born in Adams County near the great battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, January 26, 1822, and died at his beautiful old home, erected in the early days, and known as McGrew’s Grove, on Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, January 19, 1911, aged eighty-eight years, eleven months, twenty-three days. He was reared and educated in Pennsylvania, and in 1844, at the age of twenty-two accompanied his parents to the Sac and Fox Indian Reservation in the Territory of Iowa. His parents both died in that state. James McGrew early identified himself with mercantile activities, and was practically a lifelong merchant. He conducted a general store at Lancaster in Keokuk County, Iowa, and in September, 1857, came to Wyandotte County, Kansas. He was associated with the party headed by Thomas H. Swope in organizing the old City of Wyandotte. He was one of the first merchants there, and from 1860 to 1870 had both a wholesale and retail grocery business. A special...

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Biography of Josiah B. McAfee, Rev.

Rev. Josiah B. McAfee was one of the remarkable men of the State of Kansas, and it would be difficult to mention any line of activity or notable development from early pioneer days without giving a full measure of credit to this honored citizen. All over the great expense of the commonwealth may be found the material results of his foresight, judgment and unselfish public spirit, and many of the established educational and religious institutions of the Sunflower State have incorporated in their usefulness the work of his willing hands, great brain and sturdy heart. The birth of Rev. Josiah B. McAfee occurred August 6, 1830, at McAfee Town, in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, and he was the son of James and Sarah McAfee, whose parents were old and respected residents of that particular section. On the death of the father, in the fall of 1837, he and his older brother helped their mother in providing for the wants of the little family‚Äďa younger brother and a baby sister. All of the property, after his father’s death, had been taken to pay debts, many of which were believed to have been fictitious because of the lack of system in keeping the accounts of those early days. His early education was secured at what was known as Bottom, or Freedon, Schoolhouse, which he attended for ten or twelve weeks each winter...

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