Location: Leavenworth Kansas

Biographical Sketch of James F. Legate

James F. Legate was a leading citizen of Leavenworth for nearly forty years, and during the active period of his life few men in the state were better known in legislative affairs. He was a native of Massachusetts, born in Worcester County, November 23, 1829, in the house built by his paternal ancestor five generations preceding him, and on land deeded to that ancestry by the Engilsh government in the reign of George H. His father was a captain in command of a privateer in the War of 1812, and on both maternal and paternal sides were numerous representatives of the patriot cause. After a short course in law Mr. Legate went to Mississippi, where he taught school, entered politics and in 1852, as a member of the State Legislature, espoused the cause of Senator Foote against Jefferson Davis. In 1854, while in Washington, Mr. Legate met Mr. Davis, then secretary of war, who gave him a letter to Col. E. V. Sumner, stationed at Fort Leavenworth, but when he arrived in Kansas in July and “looked around” he decided to make Lawrence his home. He was active in his espousal of the freestate cause, and was elected to the First House of Representatives under the Wyandotte constitution. In the following year he was appointed United States assessor, and in November, 1863, he moved to Leavenworth, which remained his...

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Biography of George H. Keller

The name of George H. Keller, one of the founders of Leavenworth, stands among old-time residents for all that is brave and generous and stable and whole-souled, in the most trying times of the territory and the state. As John Speer once said: “His name was a synonym for honesty, integrity and patriotism; his house in Leavenworth illustrated the proverbial hospitality of the ‘Old Kentucky Home.'” “Uncle” George Keller was born in that state in February, 1801; his wife, a Van Dyke, was also a native of Kentucky, and both were descended from Holland Dutch stock. Soon after his marriage the couple migrated to a timbered farm near Terre Haute, Indiana, where he raised live stock and conducted a large inn on the National Road. In 1835 they moved to Platte County, Missouri, and for fifteen years Mr. Keller engaged in farming and manufacturing, when he disposed of all his interests, equipped a large train with merchandise and started for Sonoma Valley and the gold fields of California. He there founded the Town of Petaluma, now a prosperous city of several thousand people. In 1852 he located at Weston, Kansas, resumed farming, and was thus engaged until the spring of 1854, when, with other citizens of Weston, he founded the Town of Leavenworth. In the fall of that year, after completing the Leavenworth Hotel, the third building constructed in...

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Biographical Sketch of Owen A. Bassett

Owen A. Bassett was one of the ablest and most energetie actors in the Border troubles, the Civil war and the civil affairs of the Roconstruction period. A Pennsylvasian by birth, his father moved to Illinois in 1837 and two years later to Iowa. The family home was first in Lee County. The son’s original intention was to be a civil engineer, but he finally decided in favor of the law, although the stirring and compelling affairs which entered his life prevented him for many years from utilizing the legal training which he acquired. In 1855 he was employed in the United States land office at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, but in the spring of 1856 resigned to engage in business at Lecompton. Soon afterward he entered heartily into the free-state cause, joined the military company known as the Lawrence Stubbs, and was engaged both in the battle of Franklin and the capture of Fort Saunders. Subsequently he held the positions of engineer and quartermaster with the free-state army of Kansas, and in December, 1856, moved to Leavenworth. There he engaged as engineer for the Quindaro Town Company, and in 1857 and 1858 served in the Territorial Legislature. In the latter year he moved to Franklin County, published the Kansas Freeman a few months, returned to Lawrence and was admitted to the bar. At the outbreak of the Civil...

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Biography of Percival G. Lowe

Percival G. Lowe, for many years prominent in the public affairs of the city and county of Leavenworth, worth, was, in his young manhood, a typical plainsman and Kansas dragoon. He was essentially a man of action, and his only literary production in book form, “Five Years a Dragoon,” presents many cloarcut pictures of those early times. As a life-member and president (1893) of the State Historical Society he has also placed on record many valuable papers dealing with those subjects with which he was so practically identified. Mr. Lowe was born at Randolph, Coos County, New York, September 29, 1828, spent much of his boyhood and youth in Lowell, Massachusetts, and before he was twenty-one had spent three years upon the seas, engaged mainly in voyages to the West Indies and South America. In 1849 he joined the regular army and was stationed at Fort Leavenworth. In 1854, at the conclusion of his five-years’ service in the United States army, Mr. Lowe was appointed superintendent of transportation for Maj. E. A. Ogden, and was engaged in the construction of Fort Riley. He served as master of transportation both in General Sumner’s expedition against the Cheyennes, in 1857, and for General Johnson’s army sent against the Mormons in 1858. In the following year he severed his connection with the army and engaged in business in Denver and Leavenworth, finally...

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Biography of John Baptist Miege

John Baptist Miege, first Catholic bishop of Kansas, was born in 1815, the youngest son of a wealthy and pions family of the parish of Chevron, Upper Savoy, France. At an early age he was committed to the care of his brother, the director of the episcopal seminary of Moutiers, and completed his literary studies at the age of nineteen. After spending two more years at the seminary in the study of philosophy, on October 23, 1836, he was admitted to the Society of Jesns. The following eleven years he spent in further study, a portion of the time at Rome under eminent masters. In 1847 he was ordained priest and completed his theological training in the following year. In the midsummer of 1849 Father Miege set sall for the Indian mission of North America, and reaching St. Louis in the fall was appointed pastor of the little church at St. Charles, Missouri, which included the mission of the Portage. Later he was removed to the house of probation at Florissant, Missouri, where he taught moral philosophy, and in 1851 was sent to St. Louis University. In the fall of that year he was appointed to the vicariate apostolic of all the territory from the Kansas River at its mouth north to the British possessions, and from the Missouri River west to the Rocky Mountains, being consecrated to that...

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Biography of Charles Jeffreys Buckingham

The experiences of Charles J. Buckingham in Kansas cover almost half century. He came to the state in 1868, was for many years successfully identified with the farming, stockraising and public life of Leavenworth and Wabaunsee County, but in 1912 retired and moved to Topeka, where he enjoys the comforts of a city home at 1029 Lane Street. He was born in 1837, in Clermont County, near Miamiville, Ohio. His people were among the earliest and most prominent pioneers of this section of Southern Ohio. His gradfather, Enoch, a native of Pennsylvania, was one of the first white men to effect a permanent settlement in the neighborhood of Cinsinnati. He was born about 1770, and went to the Ohio valley before the lands had been opened to settlement by treaty with the Indian tribes. To locate on the Little Miami River at that time and under such conditions was a very hazardous undertaking. Most of the early pioneers in that section of Ohio put up log houses, but his first habitation was a hollow sycamore log, of immense size, and served the purpose of a human habitation in some respects even better than the typical log cabins of that day. Enoch Buckingham subsequently located near Milford, where during the Civil war Camp Dennison was established. He and a few other daring spirits were the first settlers of the Little...

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Biography of Charles Wolff

The careers and activities of many citizens enter into the solid structure of a city like Topeka. But the prosperity which distinguishes this city can be traced to the enterprise of a group of men who chose it as the seene of their business careers and who through their leadership, their executive ability and their splendid capacity for business organization, created and maintained the greater part of what is prominent and flourishing in industry and commerce. Among this group of business builders, one of the most prominent names is that of the late Charles Henry Wolff, Sr., whose untimely death occurred in Topeka December 31, 1913. Undoubtedly he had an exceptional genius for business. A butcher by trade, he realized the opportunities and advantages that go with the effective organization and co-operation of many people and large resources. He built an industry which stands today as one of the largest of the kind in the state. He was a foreigner by birth, but intrinsically an American to the heart and core. With only a limited education, he came to America a small lad, and in spite of disadvantages and handicaps achieved in this country both wealth and an honored name. He was born in the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1849, a son of Henry and Elizabeth Wolff. He was thirteen years old when he left the fatherland and crossed...

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Biographical Sketch of Gen. James G. Blunt

Gen. James G. Blunt was a brave and able soldier, albeit never recognized as a brilliant man of civil affairs. He was born in Hancock County, Maine, in 1826, and until his fourteenth year lived on his father’s farm. Running away from home, he was a sailor for four years and then studied medicine. In February, 1849, he graduated from the Starling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio, and in the following January located at New Madison, Ohio, where he practiced his profession until late in 1856, when he removed to Kansas and settled in Anderson County. He quickly became an ardent free-state man and when the Civil war broke out in 1861 enlisted as a private in the Third Kansas Regiment, subsequently being promoted to lieutenant colonel. He served under General Lane at the Battle of Dry Wood and then commanded a force that penstrated far into the Indian country and broks up the band of the notorious Mathews, killing the leader. In April, 1862, he was commissioned a brigadier general and placed in command of the Department of Kansas. At once he began active operations in Missouri and Arkansas, distinguishing himself for bravery and military skill in the battles of Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Boston Mountains, Fort Van Buren, Honey Springs and Newtonia. After the war he settled in Leavenworth and engaged in business, spending a large part...

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Biography of Patrick H. Coney

In many ways the State of Kansas during the last half century had had no more interesting, patriotic, versatile figure than Patrick H. Coney of Topeka. He came to Kansas after making a brilliant record as a soldier in the Civil war. He had been extremely successful as a business man, and his interests as a business man have extended over a wide and diversified field. No man in the country had exhibited a more intense loyalty and devotion to the welfare of the veterans of the great struggle between the North and the South. Mr. Coney is a lawyer, had practiced in Topeka over thirty years, is also a vigorous writer, had been a publisher in his time, and had always made his private success subsidiary to the public welfare. He was born in Newbury, Vermont, March 10, 1848, a son of Luke and Honor Berry Coney. The genealogy of this family is traceable back to Laogare, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials, a son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, Kings of Ireland in A. D. 379. His father, Luke Coney, was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in 1839. After living a time in Boston he moved to Vermont, where he married, and in 1850 went to Wayne County, New York. His later life was spent in Topeka, where he died...

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Biography of Ward Burlingame

Ward Burlingame, during the twenty years of his activities in Kansas, a well known journalist of Leavenworth and a confidential secretary to several noted men of the commonwealth, while over a quarter of a century of his life was devoted to the national postal service, ten years as chief clerk of the dead letter division. He was born at Gloversville, New York, February 6, 1836, and received a public school and academic education prior to locating at Leavenworth in 1858. Mr. Burlingame’s first newspaper experience was on a daily paper called the Ledger, edited by George W. McLane. Later he assisted in founding the Leavenworth Daily Herald, which was established in connection with the weekly edition, and while on this paper he ran the gauntlet of every position on the staff. Subsequently he worked on the Times and Evening Bulletin. After the election of 1862 Governor Carney invited him to become his private secretary and he went to Topeka. In January, 1866, Mr. Burlingame became a resident of Washington, District of Columbia, as confidential secretary to James H. Lane, then United States senator from Kansas, and remained with him during the spring of that year. On his return to Kansas he was given editorial charge of the Leavenworth Conservative, but during Governor Crawford’s second term served as his private secretary, and he continued to hold the same position during...

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Biography of George A. Crawford

George A. Crawford, the founder of Fort Scott, a well known editor and public man and several times a gubernatorial candidate, was born in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1827, of Scotch-Irish-German stock. After recejving an aendemie education and graduating from Jefferson College, he taught school in Kentucky and Mississippi, when he returned to Pennsylvania to study law. While still reading for the bar, he became edjtor and proprietor of the Clinton Demoernt. During the early ’50s he took an active part in politics against the Know-Nothings and in 1855 was a delegate to the Pennsylvania Demeratie State Couvention. In the spring of 1857 he came to Kansas; landed at Leavenworth and accompanied Dr. Norman Eddy, United States commissioner for the sale of Indian lands, to Lawrence. Crawford, Eddy and other associates purchased 520 acres of land and organized the Fort Scott Town Company, of which Mr. Crawford was made president, a position he held for twenty years. A town was laid out and the streets were named after Mr. Crawford’s friends. He was opposed to the agitation kept up by the border factions but did not change his free-state views and several attempts were made to assassinate him. At the outbreak of the Civil War Mr. Crawford assisted in the organization of the Second Kansas Regiment and equipped many of its members. When the border was threatened he...

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Biographical Sketch of Abel C. Wilder

Abel C. Wilder, prominent in the free-soil movements of Kansas Territory, in the establishment of the republican party within its limits and the founding of the commonwealth, was born at Mendon, Massachusetts, March 18, 1828. With little book learning, he early became identified with business at Rochester, New York, and did much to found its public library. While still a resident of the East, the Kansas question enlisted his deep interest and sympathy, and he came to the territory at his first opportunity in March, 1857. Engaging in the land business at Leavenworth, he at once became prominent in that line, as well as an earnest opponent of the Lecompton constitution. Mr. Wilder was a delegate to the Osawatomie convention of May, 1859; afterward became secretary of the first republican central committee, and chairman in 1860 and 1862. He served as chairman of the Kansas delegation to the national republican convention held at Chicago in 1860, being a strong supporter of Seward. President Lincoln appointed him a brigade commissary in August, 1861, with headquarters at Fort Scott. He was elected a member of the Thirty-eighth Congress in November, 1862, and declined a re-election in 1864. In the fall of 1865 he returned to Rochester, New York, and, with his brother, Daniel W. Wilder, engaged in the publication of the Evening Express. He was elected mayor of that city in...

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Biographical Sketch of Gen. John A. Halderman

Gen. John A. Halderman, a Leavenworth lawyer and a Kentnckian by birth, made an honorable reputation in the public and military affairs of Kansas, as well as in the diplomatic service of the Far East. In the spring of 1854, at the age of twenty-one, and soon after his graduation from the University of Louisville, he came to Kansas and began the practice of law at Leavenworth. He served as private secretary to Andrew H. Reeder, the first territorial governor, and in 1855 was secretary of the first Territorial Council. He was appointed the first probate judge of Leavenworth County; was major of the First Kansas Regiment in the Civil war, and majorgeneral of the state militia. As to his public honors at home. General Halderman served two terms as mayor of Leavenworth; was a regent of the university; a member of the State House of Representatives; and in 1870 was sent to the State Senate. In 1872-73 he traveled abroad. In 1880 he was appointed consul at Bangkok and was soon promoted to the consul-generalship by President Garfield. In 1883 he was the first United States minister to Siam, where the king honored him with the decoration of Knight Commander of the Order of the White Elephant, and later the French government gazetted him Commander of the Royal Order of Cambodia. He resigned his position in 1885 and...

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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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Biography of Daniel W. Wilder

Daniel W. Wilder was one of the very few able men of Kansas who had little to do with politics or public office and passed most of his life in newspaper and literary pursuits. He graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1852, four years later received the degree of A. B. from Harvard and studied law in that institution at Rochester, New York, before he came west. In 1857 Mr. Wilder came to Kansas, located at Elwood in 1858, edited the Free Press and practiced law. He was one of the founders of the republican party in Kansas in 1859; became editor and one of the publishers of the Free Democrat at St. Joseph, Missouri, in August, 1860, and in the December following Mr. Wilder and the whole office force was indicted for violating the laws of a slave state and advocating emancipation. He then returned to Kansas and became editor of the Leavenworth Conservative, an anti-slavery paper, and in 1863 was appointed surveyor-general of Kansas and Nebraska by President Lincoln. In 1865 he became editor of the Evening Express at Rochester, New York; returned to Leavenworth in 1868 and was editor of the Leavenworth Times and Conservative; was elected president of the Missouri Valley Associated Press in September of that year, and re-elected in 1870, during which year he became editor of the Fort Scott Monitor. Mr....

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