Location: McPherson County KS

Biography of Maj. Willis L. Brown

Maj. Willis L. Brown, of Kingman, is one of the eminent Kansas whose records serve to illustrate and adorn the history of the commonwealth. Mr. Brown had been through nearly everything that is significant of Kansas life for forty years. He was at one time a poverty stricken homesteader and while the general public knows him chiefly through his broader business and civic relations, he is still in close touch with Kansas farming and through his work and initiative had probably done as much as any man in Kingman County to promote intensive and high class farming and stock raising. Mr. Brown is remembered as a former speaker of the House of Representatives and at the present time is head of the organization department of the Federal Land Bank of Wichita. Owing to the extensive opportunities given him it is conceded that he is acquainted with more people than any other man in Kansas and for that reason if for nothing else his career deserves more than casual attention. He was born in Woodhull, New York, January 28, 1854. His birth occurred in a log house. When he was two years of age his father died and his early boyhood was not without the touch of poverty to spur him on to achievement. When only twelve years of age he was examined and qualified for a teacher’s certificate, though...

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Biography of John H. Linn

John H. Linn. In the upbuilding and progress of Halstead as a business and civic community, the Linn family had contributed as much as any other one name or group of persons. The late Jacob Linn was one of the pioneers of the town, and many of its most substantial interests centered around his personality, while his son John H. had in every way pursued a similar course, creditable alike to himself and to his honored father. The late Jacob Linn was born in Germany in 1840, and when about three years of age his parents came to the United States and settled in Southern Illinois in a typically German community a few miles east of St. Louis. He grew up there and was trained as a merchant in Trenton, Illinois. In 1877 he joined the pioneers of Halstead, Kansas, and established a general merchandise store, which he conducted until larger interests absorbed his time and attention. Jacob Linn was one of the charter members organizing the Halstead Bank, and served as its president for many years: He possessed the ability not only of making money but using it profitably and to the advantage of himself and others. During the many years he lived in Harvey County he bought and sold perhaps as much land as any other resident. At the time of his death, which occurred at Halstead...

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Biography of Charles A. Smith

Charles A. Smith, of Halstead, is a Kansan of long and varied experience, and his people were pioneers here. Mr. Smith is now one of the active heads of a large produce business at Halstead. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his people were early day Quakers in North Carolina, their hatred of slavery causing them to migrate to the North. Mr. Smith was born in Randolph County, Indiana, October 13, 1867. His father, John W. Smith, was born in North Carolina July 30, 1836, and in 1846, when he was ten years of age, his parents moved to Randolph County, Indiana. He grew up there on a farm, and spent his active career between farming and the trade of wagon-maker. In April, 1870, he came to Kansas, prospecting about over the state for some time, first at Lawrence and later at Plymouth, where he remained about a year, and in the fall of 1870 homesteaded a farm 4½ miles north of where Halstead now stands, in Harvey County. This was at a time when the buffalo furnished the only meat of the settlers. He was one of the pioneer element of this county and developed his quarter section into a rich and prosperous farm. In 1890 he left the farm and moved to Halstead, where he resumed his trade of wagon making, though still keeping his country property....

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Biography of James Abram Garfield Shirk

James Abram Garfield Shirk. Now professor of mathematics in the Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, Mr. Shirk has filled many important positions in the public schools and colleges of Kansas, and is a recognized authority on his special subject. A native of Kansas, he was born at McPherson January 12, 1881. His ancestry is Swiss German. The first of the name came from Switzerland to Pennsylvania in colonial days. His grandfather, John Shirk, spent his life in Pennsylvania, was a farmer, and he also contributed fame to the family name by his service in the War of 1812. He was one of the fighting sailors on the flagship of Commodore Perry in the historic battle with the British on Lake Erie. He was one of the six men who, after the flagship Lawrence was disabled, went with Commodore Perry in a small boat to the ship Niagara, while the battle was still raging. For this distinguished service in assisting to drive the British fleet from the waters of the Great Lakes he was afterwards awarded a medal by Congress. Joseph Shirk, father of Professor Shirk, was born near Meadville in Pennsylvania in 1833. He was rearded and married in his native state, was engaged for a number of years in the lumber business, and he drilled the first well in the Oil Creek oil fields of Pennsylvania. He...

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Biography of Henry E. Haskins, M. D.

Henry E. Haskins, M. D. Identified with the work of his profession at Kingman over fifteen years, Doctor Haskins had attained the substantial position of the physician and surgeon whose reputation is secure and whose service is looked upon as a valuable part of community life. Doctor Haskins is a native of Kansas, and is descended from English ancestors who settled in New York in colonial days. His grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Haskins, was born in 1824 and was a minister. He served as a chaplain with a Union regiment during the Civil war. He carried on his work as a pioneer preacher in Illinois and Iowa, and about 1876 took up a claim near Galva, Kansas, where he died in 1884. He married Miss Abraham, of a Southern family, who died at Ardmore, Oklahoma, in 1909. Dr. Henry E. Haskins was born at the place known as Old Empire in McPherson County, about five miles south of Galva, September 18, 1878. His father is Dr. M. H. Haskins, who was a pioneer physician in McPherson County. Born in Illinois in 1851, he grew up in that and the State of Iowa, and graduated M. D. from Northwestern Medical University at Chicago. In 1876 he came to McPherson County and as a pioneer doctor practiced his profession over a large extent of territory, his home being forty miles from the...

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