Location: Kansas City Kansas

Biographical Sketch of Mrs. D. B. Matney

Mamie, daughter of Barney and Susie Tucker was born March 8, 1868, in Johnson County, Kansas, edu­cated in that county. Married in Kansas City, Kansas, May 1, 1887, David B., son of John R. and Missouri Matney, born October 8, 1862 in Jackson County, Missouri. They are the parents of Albert J., born March 4, 1888, married Jennie Connel, had two children, Albert Eugene, born November 1, 1911 amid Geneva Matney, born December 14, 1913. Albert J. died at Roswell, New Mexico, January 21, 1915 and Lewis Franklin Matney, born August 27, 1889 Mr. Matney is a farmer near Vinita. Lewis Franklin Matney married Bessie Roberts nee Hale at Vinita, Craig County, Oklahoma, August 30, 1919. Served in World War from July 1918 to December 21,...

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Biographical Sketch of Otis B. Gunn

Otis B. Gunn was a native of Massachusetts, born at Montague, October 27, 1828, and before he came west as a railroad engineer, had served as rodman on the Hoosac Tunnel Railroad and superintendent of the construction work of the line between Rochester and Niagara Falls. In 1853 he was appointed division engineer in the building of the Toledo, Wabash and Western, and followed railroad construction westward until he settled at Wyandotte, Kansas, in 1857. He was a member of the 1861 State Senate, and while thus serving was appointed major of the Fourth Kansas, later the Tenth Kansas Infantry. Resigning in May, 1862, he resumed railroad work, being connected, at varions times, with the Kansas City and Cameron, Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Central Branch of the Union Pacific, and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas. Of the road last named he built 600 miles; also constructed the bridge across the Missouri River at Atehison, and in 1876 constructed the union depot in Kansas City. In view of these unadorned facts, it is perhaps needless to add that Mr. Gunn was one of the leading engineers of the West. He died in Kansas City, February 18, 1901, and was buried in Oak Grove,...

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Biography of Arthur W. Bronson

For the past seventeen years a resident of Topeka, Mr. Bronson has been a considerable factor in the material prosperity of the state, particularly in connection with the agricultural interests. As resident agent for a firm of foreign capitalists, he has been instrumental during his time in handling and distributing over $25,000,000 cash to the land owners and farmers of Kansas and adjoining states, and he is perhaps as well informed as any man in the state on the subject of agricultural credit, land values and farming interests from the financial standpoint. A native of Herkimer County, New York, where he was born June 3, 1855, Arthur W. Bronson is a son of O. W. and Elizabeth (Harter) Bronson. His family have been Americans for many generations, and O. W. Bronson was a carriage manufacturer, a trade which he adopted from his father. O. W. Bronson also owned a farm in New York, and it was in the country that Arthur W. Bronson spent the first twelve years of his life. He attended the public schools, and in 1877 graduated in the civil engineering department of Willston Seminary in Massachusetts. Though prepared for a technical profession, Mr. Bronson never practiced civil engineering, but instead engaged in merchandising at Herkimer, New York, and not finding that business to his liking he came west in 1884, and for three years was...

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Biographical Sketch of A. P. Tone Wilson, Jr.

A. P. Tone Wilson, Jr., has for a number of years been one of Topeka’s suceessful lawyers and is also proprietor of the X-Rays Printing Company, publishers of the X-Rays Democrat, of which he is editor. The printing company of which he is the head does a large business in commercial printing, catalogue work and the printing of legal blanks. No doubt he gets his profession from his father, Anthony P. Wilson, who for many years was a successful attorney, but is now retired. Mr. Wilson, Jr., is a native of the State of Nebraska, where he was born June 26, 1875, a son and one of a family of seven children whose parents were Anthony P. and Margaret E. (Boldon) Wilson. His father was born at Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1846, and studied law in Milwaukee. Though only a boy at the time he served in the Civil war and made a gallant record in Company I of the Thirty-third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He is now living in Topeka. A. P. Tone Wilson, Jr., attended the public schools of Nebraska, graduated from the Western Business College of Lincoln, and in 1898 finished his course in the Kansas City Law School, being admitted to the bar in the same year. He did his first practice in Colby, Kansas, but soon afterwards came to Topeka. On October 19, 1914, he was...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. Joseph P. Root

Dr. Joseph P. Root, who was one of the early physicians of Wyandotte, then a part of Leavenworth County, was born at Greenwich, Massachusetts, April 23, 1826, and died at Kansas City, Kansas, July 20, 1885. He was a member of the Connecticut-Kansas Colony, better known as the Beccher Bible and Bifle Company, which settled at Wahaunsee. He organized free-state forces and in every way identified himself with the early history of the torritory. As chairman of the Free-State Executive Committee, he located the road from Topeka to Nebraska City, thereby securing a safe route of travel for free-state immigrants. Doctor Root was sent East as agent to obtain arms and other assistance for the free soilers of Kansas and was very successful in his mission. On his return he located at Wyandotte and was there elected a member of the Council. In 1861 he was elected the first lieutenant-governor of the state; served in the Second Kansas as surgeon and was medical director of the Army of the Frontier. At the close of the war he returned to Wyandotte and resumed the practice of his profession, but was appointed minister of Chile in 1870. At the close of his term of office he again located in Wyandotte, of which he was a resident until his death, July 20,...

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Biographical Sketch of Judge Mark W. Delahay

Judge Mark W. Delahay, of Leavenworth, a pioneer newspaper man of that place, founder of the first paper at Wyandotte, a father of the territory and the state and an honored Federal judge during the later period of his life, was a native of Maryland. Although his father was a slaveholder, his maternal ancestors were members of the Society of Friends, and he was averse to buying and selling slaves. Soon after attaining his majority he located in Illinois, where he wrote for different journals; studied law, and was admitted to the bar. In 1853 he went to Mobile, Alabama, to practice his profession, but in the winter of 1854 became interested in Kansas, and in March, 1855, located at Leavenworth. Although a Democrat and a supporter of the policy of “squatter sovereignty,” his sympathies soon became enlisted with the free-state cause, and on July 7, 1855, he began the publication of the Leavenworth Register. He served as one of the secretaries of the Topeka convention of September 19, 1855, and as a member of the Topeka constitutional convention the following month. In December, while he was attending the free-state convention at Lawrence, his office was destroyed by a pro-slavery mob. He was elected to Congress under the Topeka constitution but was never admitted to a seat. In May, 1857, he started the Register, the first paper in Wyandotte...

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Slave Narrative of Clayton Holbert

Interviewer: Leta Gray Person Interviewed: Clayton Holbert Location: Ottawa, Kansas Place of Birth: Linn County, Tennessee Age: 86 THE AMERICAN GUIDE TOPEKA, KANSAS EX SLAVE STORY OTTAWA, KANSAS BY: Leta Gray (interviewer) “My name is Clayton Holbert, and I am an ex slave. I am eighty-six years old. I was born and raised in Linn County, Tennessee. My master’s name was Pleasant “Ples” Holbert. My master had a fairly large plantation; he had, I imagine, around one hundred slaves.” “I was working the fields during the wind-up of the Civil War. They always had a man in the field to teach the small boys to work, and I was one of the boys. I was learning to plant corn, etc. My father, brother and uncle went to war on the Union side.” “We raised corn, barley, and cotton, and produced all of our living on the plantation. There was no such thing as going to town to buy things. All of our clothing was homespun, our socks were knitted, and everything. We had our looms, and made our own suits, we also had reels, and we carved, spun, and knitted. We always wore yarn socks for winter, which we made. It didn’t get cold, in the winter in Tennessee, just a little frost was all. We fixed all of our cotton and wool ourselves.” “For our meat we used...

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Biographical Sketch of Samuel D. Lecompte

Samuel D. Lecompte, first chief justice of the Territory of Kansas and afterward prominent on the bench of Leavenworth County, and a representative in both houses of the Legislature, was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, December 13, 1814. After graduating from Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, he studied law in Maryland and, upon being admitted to the bar, began practice in Carroll County, that state. He had served one term in the Maryland Legislature and become quite prominent politically, when he moved to Baltimore in 1854. In October, 1854, President Pierce appointed Mr. Lecompte chief justice of the Territory of Kansas, which position he held until March 9, 1859. Upon retiring from the bench he located in Leavenworth and opened a law office. At the close of the Civil war he renounced his democratic beliefs and became a republican. Judge Lecompte served four years as probate judge of Leavenworth County; represented the county in the State Legislatures of 1867-68, and on April 15, 1874, was elected chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee of the First District. In 1887 he went to Kansas City to live with his son and died there on April 24,...

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Biographical Sketch of Eugene F. Ware

Eugene F. Ware, a soldier of Iowa, a lawyer and public man of Kansas, and an author both of that state and Missouri, was born at Hartford, Connecticut, May 29, 1841. His parents moved to Burlington, Iowa, in his childhood and he was educated in the public schools of that place. During the Civil war he reached the rank of captain in the Fourth Iowa Cavalry. He took a section of land in Cherokee County, Kansas, in 1867, studied law and was admitted to the bar at Fort Scott and to the United States Supreme Court; entered the law firm of McComas & McKeighan at Fort Scott; in 1874 married Miss Jeanette P. Huntington of Rochester, New York, and was for many years editor of the Fort Scott Monitor. His political career consisted of two terms in the Kansas Legislature, 1879 to 1883, and three years as United States pension commissioner– 1902 to 1905. He was prominent in the republican party; was a delegate to two of its national conventions; was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Bar Association, the Loyal Legion and the Society of the Mayflower Descendants. His home for some years was at Topeka, from which place he moved to Kansas City, Kansas, about 1909 where he practiced law in partnership with his son until the spring of 1911 when both retired...

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Biography of Peter W. Goebel

When the American Bankers’ Association in their annual meeting at Kansas City, in September, 1916, gave unanimous choice to Peter W. Goebel for president of the association, they not only honored one of the ablest bankers of the country but also the State of Kansas, where Mr. Goebel’s career as a banker began and where for over thirty years his name and influence have been growing to that point where they were recognized in such distinctive manner by the bankers of the nation. The story of one of the greatest of Kansas banks and of Mr. Goebel is almost identical. The Commercial National Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, when it opened its doors for business under the name Commercial State Bank on May 1, 1897, had as its first president Peter W. Goebel. He had been president throughout the various changes and the expansion of the institution, and sharing with him in point of continuous service is also Mr. C. L. Brokaw, who had been cashier from the beginning to the present time. The Commercial State Bank had its first home at Fifth Street and Minnesota. Avenue. The original capital stock was $25,000 and the first day’s deposits were $12,000. The original directors were P. W. Goebel, A. C. Fasenmyer, J. A. Hirst, W. T. Maunder, M. Staley, H. W. Sandusky, E. S. McAnany, J. R. Chapman, E. F....

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Biography of Lawrence Pembroke Browne

Lawrence Pembroke Browne, father of Evan H., was born in Pennsylvania and his wife in Ohio. He came to Kansas City, Missouri, as a clerk for the firm of Northrop & Chick, one of the few business houses of any importance at that time, and later, in partnership with W. H. Chick, who yet survives, became the owner of the business. In 1884 this business, general merchandise, was incorporated by the Browne family, the Chick interests being then eliminated. Until the time of his death, in 1893, Lawrence Pembroke Browne continued at the head of this business, which was largely in the Mexican trade. The building of the railroads was the influence that caused its stsady progress westward, on through Kansas and Colorado and to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where there is a store at the present but the old business was sold in 1915. Mr. Browne in 1866 located in Junction City and then followed the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, settling at each tarminal, and later pursnod the same method along the Santa Fo Road. His whole time was given to his business affairs, in which he showed much enterprise. Evan H. Browne attended the schools in his native city and later Wyandotte Academy in Kansas City, Kansas, after which he went to work in the private banking house of Northrop & Son. After one year...

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Biography of Fred Robertson

Fred Robertson, the present United States district attorney for Kansas, with office and residence at Kansas City, Kansas, had been a resident of this state since 1885. It is only necessary to recall some of the early conditions of his life in Kansas to show that he had won his way to influential poaition over many obstacles. He was fourteen years old when his parents came to Kansas, and he had been born in Orange County, New York, and his early boyhood was spent on a farm, with an education in the district schools. His parents were John M. and Nancy E. (Haley) Robertson. It was an economic reason that brought his parents to Kansas. They were people in limited circumstances in the East, and it was for the purpose of securing cheap land and getting the opportunities of the wide open West that brought them to Kansas. Their first home was a sod house in Cheyenne County. Later they removed to Rawlins County, where the mother died. In spite of the adverse conditions of pioneer life they prospered at first, but subsequently the farm could hardly be made to pay on account of continued drought and general financial and local conditions. In 1901 John M. Robertson moved out to Seattle, Washington, where he still resided. From the time he came to Kansas until comparatively recently Fred Robertson lived...

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Biography of Charles H. Sessions

Over the state at large the name of Charles H. Sessions is most familiarly associated with the office of secretary of state, which he held for two terms, and now as private secretary to Governor Capper. But Mr. Sessions himself does not consider his political honors to represent his real work. He is a newspaper man primarily and fundamentally, politics had always been a side issue, and he had never allowed anything to interfere long with his active participation in the newspaper trade. His home had been in Kansas for the past twenty-eight years. A son of M. L. and Mary A. (Reynolds) Sessions, who are still living, he was born at Woodstock, Ohio, February 1, 1868. He spent his early youth on a farm, attended the Ohio schools, and was twenty years of age when in 1888 he first put foot on Kansas soil. His first work was as a cub reporter on the Kansas City Times, but he was assigned to duty in the Kansas City, Kansas, office. He was with the Times until 1893, and then became branch manager of the Kansas City, Kansas, office of the Kansas City Journal. He is one of the Journal’s staff of veterans, and is still connected with that great Middle West paper. The Journal sent him to Topeka in 1896 as special correspondent, and in 1906 he became Washington...

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Biographical Sketch of Timothy D. Thacher

Timothy D. Thacher, a prominent editor and public man of Lawrence and Kansas City, was born in New York, October 31, 1831, of that famous Boston family, whose American founder was Rev. Thomas Thacher, pastor of the Old South Church. He graduated from Union College at Schenectady, New York, in 1856, and campaigned that year on the platform of the new republican party. In April, 1857, he came to Lawrence and began the publication of the Lawrence Republican, a free-state paper which figured prominently in state politics. He was a member of the Leavenworth constitutional convention held in the wintor of 1857 and 1858. In 1863 he purchased the Journal of Commerce in Kansas City, to which place he moved, remaining there until 1865, when he disposed of the paper and went to Philadelphia. He was on the staff of the Evening Telegram for the next three years. In 1868 he returned to Lawrence and revived the Lawrence Republican, which had been destroyed by Quantrill’s raid. The next year he combined it with the Kansas State Journal of Ottawa and the Ottawa Home Journal under the name of the Republican Daily Journal. Mr. Thacher was sent to the House of Representatives of the Legislature in 1874 and in 1881 was elected state printer. He continued in that office for three terms, and after his retirement continued to reside in...

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Biographical Sketch of George W. Martin

George W. Martin, long secretary of the State Historical Society, an old newspaper man and state printer, was born in Blair County, Pennsylvania, June 30, 1841. He learned the printer’s trade in his native town and in Philadelphia, and in April, 1857, accompanied his parents to the Territory of Kansas, Young Martin worked in printing offices at Lecompton until the fall of 1859 and in 1861 became connected with the Junction City Union, which he edited for several years. Mr. Martin was postmaster at Junction City several months in 1865 and register of the land office in 1865-66; assessor of internal revenue in 1867-68; register of the land office a second term; state printer in 1873-81; member of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1883, and mayor of Junction City in 1883-85. He moved to Kansas City, Kansas, in July, 1888, where he published the Gazette until December, 1899, when he was elected secretary of the State Historical Society, which he held at the time of his...

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