Location: Pittsburg Kansas

Slave Narrative of Charley Williams

Person Interviewed: Charley Williams Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma Date of Birth: Jan. 11, 1843 Age: 94 Iffen I could see better out’n my old eyes, and I had me something to work with and de feebleness in my back and head would let me ‘lone, I would have me plenty to eat in de kitchen all de time, and plenty tobaccy in my pipe, too, bless God! And dey wouldn’t be no rain trickling through de holes in de roof, and no planks all fell out’n de flo’ on de gallery neither, ’cause dis one old nigger knows everything about making all he need to git along! Old Master done showed him how to git along in dis world, jest as long as he live on a plantation, but living in de town is a different way of living, and all you got to have is a silver dime to lay down for everything you want, and I don’t git de dime very often. But I aint give up! Nothing like dat! On de days when I don’t feel so feeble and trembly I jest keep patching ’round de place. I got to keep patching so as to keep it whar it will hold de winter out, in case I git to see another winter. Iffen I don’t, it don’t grieve me none, ’cause I wants to see old Master...

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Biography of Ebenezer F. Porter, Hon.

For nearly a quarter of a century the Hon. Ebenezer F. Porter, State Senator from the Ninth Senatorial District, had been one of the powers and potential forces in business and in politics, in material progress and in educational affairs in that seetion of the state. He had, from an early age, borne a large share of his father’s as well as his own responsibilities in business affairs and had been forced to deal with matters of far more than ordinary importance. Notwithstanding the extent and seape of his activities, it may be said without fear of contradiction that he had never failed in any of his enterprises. He had gained among his associates the reputation of going straight to the mark in any enterprise with which he is identified, and with a definite goal for his efforts had not failed to securing whatever he went after. While he had been connected with a number of large interests during his career, yet he had never allowed himself to be so concerned with them that they receive his attention to the neglect of any detail of his other interests. His friends have said of him that everything he does is thoughtfully planned out beforehand, and with his foundation thus well built, his business structures invariably rise to a suceessful completion. Aside from pure business matters, his intense energy and trained...

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Biography of Merle K. Scott, M. D.

Merle K. Scott, M. D. There are few lovers of literature who have not lost themselves in the incomparable romances of sir Walter Scott, and probably the most knowledge that many have ever gained of Scotland had been based on the illuminating writings of her greatest novalist. From that country and from the same stock came the Scotts of Kansas, a prominent reprecentative of which family is Dr. Merle K. Scott, physician and surgeon at Frontanac. Merle K. Scott was born at Coyville, Wilson County, Kansas, April 16, 1878. His parents are Rev. Robert M. and Sarah Kinnear (Kirkpatrick) Scott, who reside on a farm situated one mile weet and one-half mile south of Frontenac, Kansas. Robert M. Scott was born in Owen County, Kentucky, in 1846. About the time he reached manhood his parents removed to Salem, Illinois, and in 1866 he came to Oskaloosa, Kansas. For a time he worked on his pioneer farm. Prior to this, however, in 1861 he onlisted for service in the Civil war, but five months later was injured so seriously that he was compelled to give up military life. He had been reared in the Methodist Episeopal faith and after coming to Oskalooss entered the ministry of that chnrch. He became well known as a minister, serving in many sections, where he was always welecomed. In 1888 he was stationed at...

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Biography of John M. Leeper

John M. Leeper. One of the very successful contractors at Topeka is John M. Leeper, who when a young man learned the trade of brick mason, and on that trade as a foundation has built up a large business in brick contracting and the services of his organization has entered into the construction of several of the most conspicuous public buildings in the state. He is a native of Kansas and was born in Lyon County, September 6, 1872, when that section of the state was still well out on the frontier. His parents were Samuel S. and Elizabeth C. (Morey) Leeper. His father was born in Ohio, came to Kansas in 1870, settling in Lyon County, homesteaded a quarter section of land, and lived there as a farmer until his death, which resulted from his being thrown from a horse. His widow, who is now living at Topeka, was born in Iowa, the daughter of Benjamin M. Morey. John M. Leeper received his early education in the district schools of Lyon County. While there he learned the trade of brick layer, followed it as a journeyman for a time, and then began taking contracts as an independent builder. For a number of years his home and business interests has been in Topeka. To mention only a few of the important contracts he has handled, he put in the...

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Biography of Robert Burns Gibb, M. D.

Robert Burns Gibb, M. D. As a surgeon one of the foremost in Kansas in point of ability and prestige is Dr. R. R. Gibb of Pittsburg. Doctor Gibb is still a young man, not yet forty, yet has had the experience and training which have matured his unusual natural gifts and his reputation and position are now well assured. Coming to Kansas after he had completed his medical course, Doctor Gibb was born at Fairbury, Illinois, December 15, 1878. He is of Scotch ancestry His grandfather John Gibb was born in Chapel Hall, Scotland, in 1812. He was in the coal business in Scotland for many years and coming to this country in 1846 located at Lonaconing, Maryland, and afterwards moved to Fairbury, Illinois. He was a well known coal operator, and his relations with that business finally brought him to Pittsburg, Kansas, where he died in 1898. He married Jeannette Stevenson, who was born at Chapol Hall, Scotland, in 1812 and died in Woodson County, Kansas, in 1890. John Gibb, Jr., father of Doctor Gibb, was born in Scotland in 1840, and was brought to America at the age of six years. He spent his early life at Lonaconing, Allegany County, Maryland, and also at Fairbury, Illinois. At Fairbury he became identified with the coal business, and in 1882 removed to Miles City, Montana, where he still...

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Biography of Archibald B. Kirkwood

Archibald B. Kirkwood. In the death of Archibald B. Kirkwood on May 16, 1916, the City of Pittsburg and southeastern Kansas lost a very prominent business man and citizen. He was one of the pioneers in the development of the coal resources of this section of the state. At one time be was general manager of the Wear Coal Company and president of the Standard Mercantile Company of Pittsburg. Of later years his interests were rather widely diffused and long before his death he had acquired a generous competence which would have enabled him to take life easily and leisurely. In many ways he had a remarkable career. He entered the coal industry at the age of thirteen. He worked in the mines and about them in practically every capacity. He was a master of the business before he reached his majority, and not only had a thorough grasp of every detail of coal mining but was also a master in the handling of men and large material resources. He was born at Lonaconing, Allegany County, Maryland, August 20, 1859, and was still comparatively young when death overtook him. His parents were John and Bachel (Gibb) Kirkwood. His father was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and the mother was also a native of that country. As a young man John Kirkwood came to the United States, locating in Maryland. He...

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Biography of William Henry Hite

William Henry Hite. In some individuals the business sense is remarkably developed and this proves the medium through which they may attain an eminence not to be gained by those who try to control affairs for which they have no aptitude. It is now generally recognized that no one reaches unusual success who works against his natural inclinations, and when competition is so keen men need every assistance that developed talent can give in order to take profitable advantage of offered opportunities and to be able to develop legitimate business chances. Especially is this true in communities where strong and able men gather, such as Cherryvale, where although the field of operation is broad, the rivalry is intense. Among the men of Cherryvale who have won success through the possession of marked business talent is William Henry Hite, proprietor of the Globe Clothing Store. When he entered upon his career at the early age of twelve years, he followed his inclination for business, and as his talents have developed he has fitted into his opportunities, so that now, in the prime of life, he finds himself at the head of the largest establishment of its kind in this part of the state. Mr. Hite was born in Wheatland, Missouri, March 20, 1869, a member of an early Missouri pioneer family, probably from Virginia, and a son of William Henry...

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Biography of George W. Kidder

George W. Kidder, who, excepting for the earliest years of infancy, has spent his entire life in Crawford County, has had a long and varied and extremely useful relationship with business affairs in various towns of that county and particularly in Pittsburg. Mr. Kidder is now secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and is also secretary of the Retail Merchants Association. The Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, which was established in 1881 at the beginning of the town when Pittsburg was nothing more than a coal camp, has been in continuous operation ever since. They performed a great work and the city itself in many ways stands as a monument to the cooperative endeavors of this organization. It now has about 300 members representing every business, professional and mechanical pursuit, and these men are associated in such a way that their united efforts constitute a tremendous power for the upbuilding and advantage of Pittsburg. Many notable results have been accomplished by the organization. In recent years the Chamber has brought about the construction of thirty-five miles of paved streets, the construction of a big storm sewer drainage system caring for a large portion of the city, the building of curbing, guttering and concrete bridges, and the improvement of several beautiful parks for the recreation of the citizens. The purchasing of the waterworks of the city, the extension of its mains...

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Biography of John Pellegrino

John Pellegrino. Among the men of high merit that the State of Kansas has called to responsible position, is John Pellegrino, of Pittsburg, Kansas, state mine inspector. From the age of fifteen years to the present, Mr. Pellegrino has been identified with mines and mining, with the exception of two years, during which interval he served faithfully as a United States soldier in the Philippine Islands. He has had a wide field of experience, and by hard, practical work in the mines and by persistent study in different institutions of learning, he has thoroughly qualified himself for the important post he fills. John Pellegrino was born June 3, 1878, at Coblentz, on the Rhine, in Germany, to which country his grandfather, Giovanni Pellegrino, had brought the family from Italy. He was born near Turin, Italy, in 1814. He was a farmer and died in 1891 in Luxemburg, Germany. Michael Pellegrino, father of John Pellegrino, was born in Germany in 1847, and died May 2, 1894, at Esch sur L’Alzette, in Luxemburg, Germany. He married Josephine Paulus, who was born in 1851, near Bingen, Germany, and died in 1890 in the same province as did her husband. Michael Pellegrino was a merchant and inn-keeper. He had two sons, John and Peter, the latter being an electrician at Esch sur L’Alzette, Germany. John Pellegrino attended the excellent public schools of his...

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Biography of John Pedroja

John Pedroja. One of the most reliable and progressive of the younger members of the Crawford County bar, who stands high in professional ability as a man of broad business and financial judgment, is John Pedroja, who since 1911 has been engaged in practice at Mulberry. He has also served the public well and conscientiously in the offices of city clerk and city attorney during the past four years, and is a citizen who has done much to advance the interests of his community. Mr. Pedroja was born at Gnosca, Switzerland, November 27, 1880, and is a son of Charles and Augelina (Rochi) Pedroja, natives of the same place. Charles Pedroja was born in 1855, and was reared and educated in his native place, where he learned the trade of painter and served two years in the regular army of Switzerland. In 1888 he brought his family to the United States and located at once in Greenwood County, Kansas, where for a number of years he was engaged in farming and raising stock. In 1914, in order that his children might receive better school advantages, he located at Lawrence, where he now lives in retirement. Mr. Pedroja has been an industrious and thirty workman all his life, and is now in comfortable circumstances. He is a democrat in politics and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mrs....

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Biography of Asa Messinger

Asa Messinger. It is not likely that men within the City of Pittsburg, Kansas, have contributed in greater measure to the making of their surroundings than has Asa Messinger. Look where one will, large buildings and small, modest homes and elegant residences, banking houses and industrial plants, churches and educational institutions, structures for the housing of public utilities–these, and more which contribute to the architectural ensemble of a flourishing town, are the product of his brain and hand. And this is not all. In the capacity of commissioner of streets and public improvements, he has added to the city’s beauty and safeguarded its people’s health in the way of sanitation, and has introduced innovations that would be valuable assets to a city many times the size of Pittsburg. Mr. Messinger was born at Taylorville, Illinois, November 29, 1876, and is a son of W. S. and Harriet (Flemming) Messinger. His grandfather, Asa Messinger, was a pioneer of Illinois, where he followed farming for many years, and died at Taylorville. W. S. Messinger, father of Asa Messinger, was born in 1851, at Alton, Illinois, where he was reared and educated, and as a young man went to Taylorville, at which place he was married. He engaged in farming in Christian County until 1888, in which year he went to Missouri, and for ten years farmed in the southern part of...

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Biography of George W. Trout, Prof.

Prof. George W. Trout, professor of history at the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, Kansas, was born in Allen County, Kentucky, September 16, 1863, and is a son of Rev. Paton and Amanda (Black) Trout. He belongs to an old and honored family which originated in Ireland, and came to America during the days of the American Colonies, the first forefather in this country settling in Virginia, from whence the family drifted to various parts of the Union. George Trout, the grandfather of Professor Trout, was born in Sumner County, Tennessee, in 1789, and there spent his entire life on the same farm, dying in 1898. He was a democrat in politics and at one time served as judge of the district which now bears his name. He and his son, George, resided on that farm during the administration of every president of the United States, and the latter still makes his home there. Rev. Paton Trout was born in 1834, in Sumner County, Tennessee, and was reared on a farm, but chose instead the ministry as his vocation and educated himself for this calling. He became a circuit rider in the Methodist Episeopal Church, South, and at one time filled as many as thirty pulpits in a single year, in Allen County, Kentucky, and Sumner County, Tennessee. During the Civil war he enlisted under John Morgan...

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Biography of Alonzo O. Blair, M. D.

Alonzo O. Blair, M. D. By nearly forty years of practice in Southeastern Kansas Doctor Blair has become widely known as a successful physician and surgeon, and for more than a quarter of a century has been identified professionally and also in a business way with the City of Pittsburg. By ancestry he is of Scotch-Irish stock. His great-great-grandfather came in colonial times from England and settled in South Carolina. Doctor Blair’s grandfather was a native of South Carolina, but was opposed to the institution of slavery and moved from that state to Tennessee and thence to Illinois. He was one of the conductors on the famous underground railroad in the years before the war, a route by which many fugitive slaves escaped to freedom in Canada. He was an early farmer at Sparta, Illinois, where he died. Illinois is the native state of Doctor Blair. He was born in Perry County September 19, 1852. His father William R. Blair was born in Tennessee in 1824, grew up in that state, and at the age of thirty-four removed to Perry County, Illinois. He followed farming all his life, and died at Perry in March, 1916. He was a man of considerable influence in his home locality, was an active republican, filled the office of justice of the peace, and was a member and elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church....

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Biography of Edwin V. Lanyon

Edwin V. Lanyon. The president of the National Bank of Pittsburg, Edwin V. Lanyon, is a dominant factor in the financial and industrial world and belongs to a family the members of which have figured conspicuously in the industrial development of Southeastern Kansas for the last quarter of a century. He is a native of Wisconsin, born at Mineral Point, December 14, 1863, and a son of Josiah and Jane (Trevorrow) Lanyon, the former a native of Mineral Point and of English descent, and the latter a native of England. Josiah Lanyon came to Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1882, and was interested in the smelter development of this section, but later returned to Mineral Point, Wisconsin. In the public schools of that city Edwin V. Lanyon received his education, and in 1882 came to Pittsburg with his father, here assisting him to build a smelter which they operated together under the firm style of W. & J. Lanyon until 1897. They also built a large smelter at Iola, and a number of members of the Lanyon family were interested in these gigantic projects, in which thousands of dollars were involved. The Iola plant was operated under the name of Robert Lanyon & Sons Smelting Company, as was also the La Harpe plant, and these enterprises were later absorbed by the Lanyon Zinc Company. In the spring of 1899, Edwin V....

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Biography of Dunham O. Munson, M. D.

Dunham O. Munson, M. D., is one of the leading specialists of Southeastern Kansas. He has practiced at Pittsburg upwards of twenty years, and while the earlier part of his practice was devoted to general medicine and surgery, for the past five years he has given his time exclusively to the diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat. He is a man of splendid attainments in his profession and undoubtedly inherits much from his fine old Ameriean ancestry. He was born at Brockport, New York, June 27, 1859, but a part of his early life was spent in Ontario, Canada. He attended the public school and high school at Bowmanville in Ontario, was graduated from high school in 1879 and then removed to Detroit, Michigan, where he spent a number of years as bookkeeper with a music house. He had a long and varied business career before entering his profession. For four years Doctor Munson was in the real estate business at Denver, Colorado. He had long cherished an ambition to enter the field of medicine, and finally removed to St. Louis and became a student in the Marion-Sims College of Medicine, now the medical department of St. Louis University. He was graduated there M. D. in 1896. In the past twenty years Doctor Munson has been continuously a student and a close follower of every advance made...

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