Location: West Springfield Massachusetts

Biographical Sketch of Shaler W. Eldridge

Shaler W. Eldridge, one of the leading free-state men of Lawrence and therefore of the Territory of Kansas, was a native of Massachusetts, born at West Springfield, August 29, 1816. The twelve years previous to coming to Kansas, he spent as a leading railroad contractor of New England. Arriving in Kansas City, Missouri, January 3, 1855, he purchased the American House from Samuel C. Pomeroy, who had previously obtained it from the Emigrant Aid Society. It is needless to say that it was headquarters for the free-state men, and that it harbored Governor Reeder in his escape from Kansas. In the early part of 1856 Colonel Eldridge leased the Free-State Hotel at Lawrence, which was burned by the pro-slavery people under Sheriff Jones. He attended the convention at Philadelphia which nominated Fremont, and was also a member of the Buffalo convention of July 9, 1856. It was doubtless his influence which mainly induced Secretary Stanton to issue the proclamation calling the first Free State Legislature to submit the Loccompton constitution to the people. In 1857 he and his brothers erected the Eldridge House at Lawrence, which was destroyed a second time by Quantrill, August 21, 1863. He enlisted in a company of the Second Kansas Regiment, was made Lieutenant and in 1863 appointed paymaster. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any...

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Biography of Shalor Winchell Eldridge, Col.

Col. Shalor Winchell Eldridge. A great deal of early Kansas history revolves around the name Eldridge. Colonel Eldridge touched Kansas life at so many points that the record of his individual experience might appropriately and without undue forcing be expanded into an illuminating history of the most vital events connected with the founding and formative period of the state. Of the many New Englanders that came to Kansas at the beginning of the free state struggle none were more typically New England than Colonel Eldridge. He was born at West Springfield, Massachusetts, August 29, 1816, a son of Lyman Eldridge and a grandson of Elisha Eldridge. His grandfather served as an officer in the Revolutionary war. Colonel Eldridge was named for his uncle Shalor Winchell, who died while an American soldier in the War of 1812. Lyman Eldridge married Phoebe Winchell. The Winchells were of Colonial ancestry and for many generations were prominent in New England. While he was a youth schools and educational opportunities were not ready to hand as in more modern times, but Shalor W. Eldridge showed even as a boy his marked individuality and acquired a close and discriminating knowledge of men and affairs which, taken with his indomitable character and progressive ideas, made up for a lack of literary opportunities. When only twenty years of age he became a contractor on the Connecticut River...

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Biography of Harold Burnett Ketchen

HAROLD BURNETT KETCHEN, prominent in business circles in Belchertown, Massachusetts, and associated with worthwhile achievements for the betterment of the city, is of a family long established in New England. (I) Andrew Ketches, the first American representative, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and died in Torrington, Connecticut, then called Wolcotville, in 1866. He came to America in 1822 to practice his trade of carpet weaving. After spending a short time in Seekonk, Rhode Island, he settled for the remainder of his life in Torrington. (II) Andrew Gilmore Ketchen, son of Andrew Ketchen, was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, April 22, 1824, and died in Belchertown, Massachusetts, July 13, 1913. A carpet weaver like his father, he lived in Torrington and other New England towns. For fifteen years he had a business of his own in Torrington, weaving rag carpets. His last fifteen years were spent with his son, Arthur, in Springfield and Belchertown. He married (first) Caroline Mead, who died in May, 1867; (second) Eliza Hart. (III) Arthur Robert Ketchen, son of Andrew Gilmore Ketchen, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, November 30, 1860. He was educated in the Torrington schools, and worked on neighboring farms as a boy. When he was twenty-three years old he became a fireman, later an engineer on the Boston & Albany Railroad, remaining thus employed for ten years. In West Springfield and later Springfield,...

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