Location: Manhattan Kansas

Biography of John Warner

Nearly sixty years have passed since John Warner, then a young man in the full prime of enthusiasm and ambition, came to Kansas to seek his fortune in the young state. At that time his available eash assets consisted of $13, not a great sum with which to start in an unknown country. This was sufficient, however, and not many years had passed before he was on the high road to success. Now, in his eighty-fourth year, this Kansas pioneer and Civil war veteran is living in retirement at Manhattan, at which city he took his residence in 1908, after an eminently successful career as farmer and honorable, public-spirited citizen. John Warner was born in Baden, Germany, October 16, 1833, and was but five years old when, in 1838, his parents, John and Elizabeth (Pfiester) Warner, brought their family to the United States and settled on a farm in Clark County, Indiana. In 1847 Mr. Warner’s father gave up agricultural work to engage in railroad construction in Indiana and Kentucky, and was the builder of the first railroad in the latter state, from Louisville to Frankfort, a work in which his son, John, took a part. In 1852 the family removed to Tama County, Iowa, the father again resuming agricultural activities. John Waruer had received a public school education, and by the year 1853 was ready to enter upon...

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Biography of Robert Bruce Spilman

The name Spilman has for half a century been one of prominence in Riley County. The people of that county, including both the bar and the general public, will always recall with special marks of affection and esteem the life and services of the late Judge Robert Bruce Spilman, who was one of the pioneer lawyers of Manhattan and for ten years occupied a seat on the district bench. A son of William and Dorcas Jane (Garrison) Spilman, who were natives of Kentucky, and early settlers in Indiana, Judge Spilman was born at their home at Rockville, Indiana, August 7, 1840. He was just in the prime of his years and ussfulness when his death occurred at Manhattan, October 19, 1896. His parents in order to provide better opportunities for their children moved from Rockville to Crawfordsville, Indiana. Crawfordsville is the seat of one of Indiana’s most noted educational institutzons, Wabash College, distinguished for the many eminent men who have gone from its halls. Judge Spilman was one of the graduates with the class of 1861. On leaving college he accepted the place of teacher in a school, but soon left the schoolroom to enlist in defense of the Union. Crawfordsville was a hotbed of patriotism during the war, and was the home of General Lew Wallace, the soldier author. Judge Spilman became a private in Company K of...

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Biographical Sketch of William R. Spilman

William R. Spilman, the oldest son of Judge Spilman, was born at Manhattan December 6, 1870, and received his education in the city schools and the State Agricultural College. In 1890 he became court reporter under his father of the Twenty-first Judiela I District, and that position he held for seventeen years. He resigned to become a stenographer in the navy department at Washington, but later at the request of Assistant Postmaster General Bristow was transferred to the postoffice department. In that department he has filled a number of important positions. He has been superintendent of rural delivery, superintendent of city delivery, and is now connected with the inspection work of the department. He married Bertha Winchip, a Manhattan...

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Biographical Sketch of Robert Bruce Spilman, Jr.

The only son of the late Judge R. B. Spilman still living in Manhattan is Robert Bruce Spilman, Jr. He was born in Manhattan September 7, 1875, and that city has always been his home. He attended the public schools, and in 1894 entered the halls of his father’s Alma Mater, old Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He continued his studies at Wabash until 1896. Returning home he occnpied himself with various lines of employment until 1900, and in that year was elected clerk of the District Court for Riley County. Since beginning his duties as clerk of the District Court in January, 1901, Mr. Spilman has been continued in that office by repeated elections and now has given the office the benefit of his efficient service for fifteen years. For seven years he was also a partner in a hardware firm in Manhattan, and since selling that interest he has acquired an abstract business and still operates that. He is a republican in politics and has long been a ruling slder in the First Presbyterian Church and is superintendent of its Sunday school. In 1903 he married Willa Wood of Angola, Indiana. They have one son, Raymond...

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Biography of James Humphrey

James Humphrey, as lawyer, editor, judge and state official, firmly established his position throughout a period of half a century as one of the ablest and most popular citizens of Central Kansas. He was born in Nottinghamshire, England, March 8, 1833; came to New England in 1854, and during the succeeding three years was a resident of Fall River, Massachusetts. There he became interested in the Kansas agitation for free statehood and in April, 1857, reached Manhattan. His first employment in connection with the shrievalty was a good test of his pluck, and he so arose to the occasion that he was afterward elected mayor. In 1859 and 1860 he served as assistant county treasurer and in 1861 was head of the office. He also served as justice of the peace, and his trial of the cases brought before him brought so much commendations from the lawyears of both sides that he decided to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1863. He has previously broken into journalism by editing the Manhattan Express in the absence of C. F. DeVivaldi, who was serving abroad as consul to Brazil. After the Civil war Mr. Humphrey established a large practice, and handled it with such ability that in the spring of 1867 he was appointed judge of the Eighth Judicial District. In the fall of that year he was...

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Biography of John Melville Kimball

Kansas has many octogenarians. The soil and climate and other conditions are conducive to bringing men and women to a happy and contented old age, but few of them have lived so long in the Sunflower State as John Melville Kimball, who at the age of four score is still young in spirit and can enjoy the wonderful retrospect of years which goes back to the very establishment of the institntions of the state. He is a pioneer settler of Riley County, and for half a century was successfully identified with farming in Manhattan Township until he retired to his city home in Manhattan. It was in the spring of 1856 that Mr, Kimball, together with his brother J. Augustus Kimball, came out to Kansas Territory, partly for the purpose of founding a home and also to lend their aid in making the territory a free state. They had come from the East by railroad as far as St. Louis, and from that city a steamboat carried them up the Missouri to what is now Kansas City. With a wagon and an ox team they came overland to their destination, keeping close to the banks of the Kansas River until they arrived in what is now Riley County. Thus it was that sixty years ago Mr. Kimball helped drive an ox team over the rude trails which passed as...

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Biography of Rev. William Knipe

Rev. William Knipe is one of the few surviving participants in the war with Mexico, which was fought nearly seventy years ago. Many other interesting distinctions attach to this venerable and useful resident of Kansas. He was one of the pioneer Methodist missionaries in Jackson County, Kansas, and is one of the very oldest members of the Methodist Conference. He was also a soldier of the Civil war and few men who live so long succeed in compressing so much useful service to humanity within a lifstime. His birth occurred in a log house in Wayne County, Indiana, September 28, 1827. He is now nearing the eighty-ninth milestone on the journey of a well spent career, and enjoys the comfort of a good home in Manhattan. His parents were John and Jemima (Jackson) Knipe, His father, though born in England, was of German lineage. He came to the United States in early manhood in company with his brother Thomas Knipe. Settling on a farm in Wayne County, Indiana, he was a pioneer there and spent his days usefully and honorably. Reverend Mr. Knipe’s mother was a native of North Carolina. She died when he was six years old and ten years later he was deprived of the guidance and care of a father. From that early age he has been dependent upon his own resourees. A limited education was...

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Biography of Charles F. Little, M.D.

Charles F. Little, M. D., is one of the oldest living members of the medical profession in Kansas. It was fully half a century ago that he came to Manhattan, and until his recent retirement was almost continuously identifled with his professional duties in Riley County. Doctor Little is one of the men who gained their training and attended their first cases prior to the Civil war. In the war he served as an assistant surgeon. A great fund of practical business ability has been a prominent characteristie of Doctor Little and for years he has been one of the influential business men of Manhattan. His individual record of honorable service adds to the lustre of the family name. His ancestry goes back to New England. He is a descendant of George Little, who came from London, England, to America in 1640 and settled around Massachusetts Bay at Newbury. The line of descent from father to son in subsequent generations is as follows: George Little, the progenitor of the family in America; Moses; Tristam; Henry; Henry h; Abner Bailey; Caleb J. T.; and Dr. Charles F. Little. Doctor Little represents the eighth successive generation of the family in America. Charles F. Little was born at Milford, New Hampshire, January 27, 1836, a son of Caleb J. T. and Eliza. Ann (Brooks) Little. Caleb J. T. Little was born at...

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Biography of Edward Shellenbaum

Edward Shellenbaum is co-editor and owner with D. E. Deputy of the Manhattan Nationalist. He entered the newspaper field a few years ago after long and competent service as postmaster at Randolph in Riley County. A native Kansan, he was born in Riley County on his father’s farm near Randolph, November 25, 1875, a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Siebecker) Shellenbaum. Mention of the name of the late Henry Shellenbaum serves to recall not only one of the most prominent pioneers of Riley County, but also some incidents of pioneer life that fittingly find a place in the history of Kansas. The Shellenbaums and their connections were among the first to occupy and develop that beantiful tract of Kansas landscape known as the Fancy Creek Valley. The Shellenbaums are of Swiss stock. Henry was born at Zurich, Canton Winterthur, Switzerland, October 1, 1833. At the age of twenty-one he came to the United States with his parents and brothers and sisters. His father died on the voyage and was buried at sea. The widowed mother and her children located at Seymour, Indiana. About two years later, in 1856, Henry Shellenbaum, with two other natives of Switzerland, Edward and Solomon Secrest, journeyed from Jackson County, Indiana, to Kansas. Kansas was still a territory and a hot bed of the critical troubles growing out of the free-state movement. In November of...

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Biography of George S. Murphey

For over forty years George S. Murphey had been a banker. Nearly thirty of those years have been spent in Kansas, and as president of the First National Bank of Manhattan he is at the head of one of the strong and stable financial institutions of the state. Most of his life had been spent in the West and he was in the Middle West at a time when it was really the Far West. His birth occurred in Delaware, Ohio, September 24, 1846. His father James Murphey was born in Penusylvania and his mother Rhoda Carpenter was born in New York, and after their marriago in New York State they moved to Delaware, Ohio. In 1856 the family moved out to Blackhawk County, Iowa, where the parents settled on a farm and there spent the rest of their houored and useful careers. Of their children five sons and one daughter reached maturity. The State of Iowa sixty years ago was a new and undeveloped portion of American territory. George S. Murphey from the age of ten until he was twenty-five lived on a farm in that state and necessarily his education was confined to such advantages as the common schools of the day afforded. When twenty he assumed the management of his father’s farm, and five years of that work and subsequently three years of experience in the...

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Biographical Sketch of Edwin C. Manning

Edwin C. Manning, the founder of Winfield, the organizer of the County of Cowley, one of the early editors of the state and thirty or forty years ago a republican leader of Kansas, was born in Redford, Clinton County, New York, November 7, 1838. He was educated both in Vermont and Iowa, taught school at an early age, at the age of nineteen commenced to learn the printer’s trade and in 1859, then about of age, was among the first to start for the Pike’s Peak region in search of gold. He returned a disillusioned young man, but became interested in the publication of the Democratic Platform of Marysville, Kansas, and in May, 1860, obtained full control, raising the republican flag at once. In the first and the second years of the Civil war he served as a minor officer in the Second Kansas Cavalry and the First Indiana, but returnsd to Marysville, purchased the Big Blue Union and published it there until 1866. In that year he moved to Manhattan and established the Kansas Badical, and in 1868 engaged in the Government contracting business in Western Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. In 1869 he took a claim where Winfleld now stands, founding that town in the following year and subsequently organising the County of Rowley. From 1875 to 1877 he published the Winfield Courier and had resided in...

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Biography of Thomas E. Wagstaff

An attorney of long and successful experience in Montgomery County, both in Coffeyville and Independence, Thomas E. Wagstaff had been and is a leader in republican politics in the state, and a few years ago his name beeame known all over Kansas as a candidate for nomination to the office of governor. He lost the nomination by only a few votes. This was in 1910, when W. R. Stubbs was nominated and afterwards elected. His family have been identified with Kansas for forty years. Thomas E. Wagstaff was born at Galesburg, Illinois, July 23, 1875, and was still an infant when brought to this state. His father, Richard T. Wagstaff, who died at Lawrenec in 1901, is said to have been the best known traveling salesman in Kansas, and was known among retail merchants, the traveling fraternity in general, and a great host of other citizens by the affectionate title of “Uncle Dick.” For years he represented a hardware honse of St. Louis, and traveled over all the State of Kansas. He was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1842, a son of Robert Wagstaff, a native of the same place. The Wagstaff family in Ireland were of the gentry, and back in the times of the protectorate Oliver Cromwell gave thom grants of land which are still owned by their descendants. Robert Wagstaff came to America at the close...

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Biography of Robert Pugh

One of the valuable acquisitions to the citizenship of Shawnee County was made about the close of the Civil war when Robert Pugh came to Kansas and became one of the pioneer homesteadors in Topeka and Tecumseh Township. During his active lifetime Robert Pugh developed a splendid estate as a farmer, and the qualities of his enterpriss descended to his only son living, Burton H. Pugh, who for many years had been one of the leading factors in the potato industry of the Kaw Valley. A native of Preble County, Ohio, Robert Pugh was born January 26. 1830, a son of Merritt Pugh. When a child his family removed to a farm in Cass County, Indiana, where he grew up. Such education as he acquired was from the district schools. In Cass County, Indiana, Robert Pugh married Susan Troutman. In 1865 they removed to Kansas, and Mr. Pugh bought 240 acres in the northeastern corner of Topeka Township and the southeastern corner of Tecumseh Township in Shawnee County. At that time the land was almost entirely unimproved. That was the stage of Robert Pugh’s subsequent labors, and in time he had his land developed into one of the most productive farms in the state. His death occurred in May, 1898. His widow, Mrs. Pugh, is still living and resided on the old farm with the only survivor of their...

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Biography of Delmar E. Deputy

Long a prominent citizen of Riley County and a successful business man of Manhattan, Delmar E. Deputy, in his capacity of private citizen and as a member of the firm of Deputy & Schellenbaum, publishers of the Manhattan Nationalist, had done much to advance the welfare of his city and county. He was born in Jennings County, Indiana, November 9, 1862, a son of Silvester F. and Jane (Fowler) Deputy, natives also of Jennings County, and descendants of old Virginia ancestors, and with his parents came to Kansas in 1878 and settled in Riley County, where the father became a prominent farmer and stockman and continued to make his home in the same community for more than thirty years, his death occurring at Riley, Kansas, in 1909, at the age of seventy-seven years. He was a stanch republican and a Christian. A contemporary, in speaking of Mr. Deputy, said: “Silvester F. Deputy was a man of strong force of character and was respected by all who knew him. No man ever lived who had a stricter regard for probity; he was strictly honest.” Delmar E. Deputy was fifteen years of age when his father removed with the family to Kansas. He received his high school training in Manhattan and then took a course in a business college at Indianapolis, Indiana, in which school he was later employed as one...

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Biography of William Leslie Porter

A public office is only an opportunity for rendering real service to the public. Whether that opportunity is utilized depends upon the man. Several years ago the people of Topeka elected William Leslie Porter commissioner of parks and public properties. When he entered office he was new to the duties, and he was practically without political experience. But he had exhibited other qualities far more important that political experience. He had a well defined ambition to do everything he could for the community welfare through the opportunity afforded by his office. Mr. Porter also had a reputation of having a strong will and ample determination to carry out any plan upon which he embarks. The results in the past two or three years stand as a splendid justification of his election as commissioner. Some brief survey of what had been accomplished in those two or three years is necessary to complate the personal record of Mr. Porter and is also an important chapter in Topeka municipal history. In the year 1914 one small playground was eatablished in one of the Topeka parks. The experiment was one of unqualified success from the standpoint of the parents, the neighborhood and the children. Then followed an association composed of members of the school board, the city commissioners and the Commercial Club. The association appointed a legislative committee. This committee appeared before the...

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