Linn County Biographies
"Linn County, Kansas, A History," 1928
Ellsworth through Humphrey



ELLSWORTH-In 1865 Moses Ellsworth came from Sangamon county, Illinois, to make his home in Scott township. This family was quite well known, the children being J. L. Ellsworth, now of Medicine Lodge, A. L. and A. T. Ellsworth of Fontana, and E. W. of Iola, and Rhoda who married Jesse Vance in 1861 in Illinois. The Vance children were Curtis, Mary Laurett, Ann Adella, William E. and Alberta T. Among the third generation, her grandchildren, Mrs. Vance left Clyde Geer of Sterling, Colorado; Loren Geer of Osawatomie, and Earl Vance of La Cygne, and five great-grandchildren. This family illustrates the rapidity with which time passes. Old Moses was a veritable patriarch, a fine example of good citizenship, but except for this brief mention would soon be not even a memory except to the occasional visitor at his tombstone. Frederick W. Pollman was for many years an exemplary and leading citizen of La Cygne. He was of German origin. having been born at Billinghousen in Lipple Detwold. He was an expert in making brick and was the first in that industry in La Cygne. He was married at his home in Germany to Amelia Brokman and three daughters and five sons were born to them here. A son William went to Baker City, Oregon, and is rated as a millionaire, and is president of the biggest bank there. In 1876 the father became associated with Fred Tilghner in the meat business, which recalls another good old citizen long since removed.

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FAWCETT-Bayliss R. Fawcett, a brother to Aunt Lucy Marshall, was born in Richmond, Virginia, August 11, 1827, his maternal ancestors being the Baylisses, wealthy people of some distinction, one relative being closely associated with George Washington in the Revolutionary War. His parents took him to Salem, Ohio, where he grew up and became Captain of Company M of the Second Ohio Cavalry. August 17, 1862 he was married to Mary Artz, who was born at Buffalo, New York. Flora, their first child, now Mrs. Adam Stolper, was born at Salem. On their way to Kansas they came down the Ohio river and were stranded on a sandbar and Flora had the whooping cough. At St. Louis they took a stage through. arriving at Twin Springs where they joined “Uncle Jimmy” and “Aunt Lucy" Marshall, Mrs. Marshall being a sister to Baylis. Their daughter Anna was born at Twin Springs. He died at the home of his daughter Flora in Leavenworth December 4, 1892, and was buried in Mount Muncie cemetery. The children of Mrs. Flora Fawcett Stolper are Carl B. who married Lena Feris and lives in Fort Worth, Texas; William A. married Bessie Lintner and lives in Kansas City, Missouri; Louise F. married Erven D. Kohl and lives in Kansas City, Missouri; Mary H. married William A. Robie and lives at La Cygne.

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FICKES-Five stalwart young men and a sister named Fickes came to Trading Post from the family home on a farm near Bellefont, Center county, Pennsylvania, prior to the Civil War and took part in the border warfare, their names being Samuel, Jacob, John, Morgan, and William Fickes, and their sister Jane who later married William Hensley who had settled on the ridge east and north of Brooklin and had his home where the town of Barnard (now Boicourt) was located when later the railroad came. The father of these Fickes children was of a German family and was born in Virginia, later moving to Center county, Pennsylvania, where he married a Miss DeVinney at Bellefont. There was another daughter, Mary Ann, who married John Ross in the Pennsylvania home and brought a large family here in July, 1859, who are mentioned elsewhere. All these men married and raised big families, but in the early years scattered, many of them going to Colorado. Morgan Fickes married Minerva Rhodes of a very good family who lived in the valley two miles west of Trading Post. They had two sons, Lester and Edward, the latter being killed a few years ago by a tree falling on him on a farm east of Pleasanton. Lester made his home in Pleasanton many years. Morgan Fickes became a very wealthy man in land speculations and it is said nearly every abstract in Linn County bears his name. He owned a saw mill at Trading Post and furnished lumber for nearly all the pioneer homes when log construction stopped. He acquired title to the land where Pleasanton stands and when the railroad came through in 1869 he out-generaled all his rival town promoters by taking Octave Chanute into partnership. As Chanute was the chief engineer of the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad he had the controlling influence that located the station and the town as is told elsewhere. Morgan Fickes built a fine big hotel, called the Gulf House, up on the side of the “Mound” at Pleasanton and it was a famous landmark throughout eastern Kansas till its destruction by fire, an event that was the beginning of the downfall of Morgan, his fortune being, swept away and litigation called his presence in court at every term for thirty years, finally sending him to the “poor house” for the last four of his ninety-four years of life.

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FINCH-The Finches have always been numerous about Linn County and the country north of it since 1857, when Commodore Finch owned part of what is now the William Black farm north of La Cygne. They were descended from Ira Finch of New York and his wife, a Miss Buell, sister to General Buell of Civil War fame. This couple moved to Ohio and once owned the tract of ground where the city of Columbus now stands. They allowed several thousands of acres to revert to the state for taxes, and the state capital was subsequently built upon it. To them was born Thomas Samuel Finch who married Lucy Warner of German birth, and to them Charles Sherman Finch was born in Franklin county, Ohio, in 18§4, and as a boy came to La Cygne and worked in the blacksmith shop of E. P. McCarty and Jim Nash who married one of the Finch girls, and for C. W. Olney. At about that time he enlisted in the Fifteenth United States Regulars and served five years. Returning to La Cygne he on June 11, 1887, married Jennie Geneva only daughter of E. P. McCarty. They had three children, Jessie who married William Bright, Lester McCarty who married Ivy Ayres, and Lucy Pauline who married Dana McClanahan. The Finches have a family tradition going back to the year 1200 when a Finch is claimed to have carried a cavalry sword into Jerusalem in one of the Crusades. This sword was brought to America about 1621 by a younger son who surreptitiously took it from the ancestral home in England. It has since been handed down to the oldest boy as a family relic and has been the object of a feud for its possession. When Thomas Samuel Finch became an officer in the Twelfth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in the Civil War this sword was remounted by citizens and presented to him with this inscription on it: “Presented 2d Lt. T. S. Finch by the non-commissioned officers and privates of Co. L. 12 O. V. C.” If this tradition can be substantiated the Sword of La Cygne outranks the Sword of Bunker Hill and that of Damocles in historic interest. A further traditional claim for it is that at Valley Forge a Finch was a major in the Continental Army and when Washington's sword was sent to an armorer for repairs he accepted the use of this sword temporarily. Two sons of Commodore Finch, Curtis and David Mascal, enlisted in a Missouri regiment and were subsequently transferred to a Kansas regiment in the Civil War.

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GAINES-Henry Newton Gaines didn't come very early but he “kicked up considerable dust” in the days of Populism and became state superintendent of public instruction after overcoming what seemed insuperable difficulties in the way of obtaining an education, becoming one of the best known teachers of the state and finally landing the honor of a place in the state house. He lived fifty years in Kansas, always a close, conscientious student and a model of good citizenship, and when he moved down to Martin county, Florida, he was made chairman of the board of county commissioners eight years consecutively, and still comes each year to visit the scenes of his early manhood, especially in old “Swayback” school district in Valley township where the family home first was. His parents were James Pendleton Gaines and Martha Dyer Gaines from Grainger county, Tennessee to Illinois, and to Linn County in 1880. The other children were William Thomas, James Columbus, John Robert, Anderson Talbott, Amanda Jane (now Mrs. Hurley at La Cygne), Mary Etta (now Mrs. Highley at La Cygne), and Ulysses Grant. All these children were well known citizens of Linn County. “Newt” married Julia Devine in Cass county, Illinois, five children coming to them: Bertha May, Arthur Bennett, Bessie (now Mrs. C. F. Cordrey of Topeka), Grace (now Mrs. Karl A. Menninger of Topeka), Irene (now Mrs. Robert L. McPherson of Florida). “Newt” as we all knew him was one of the foremost among the Populist orators but was almost howled down out at Kingman when the crowd was yelling for Jerry Simpson and Mary Ellen Lease. “Newt” was introduced but the crowd couldn't see him and wouldn't listen till he caught their ear with “Why, even the babies are affected by the Alliance program. Last night a child was born without socks at Wichita and they called him Jerry.” This caught the crowd and they gave “Newt” an ovation and nominated him next day for the state office, the same year Stephen H. Allen was made attorney general- two state officers on one ticket for Linn County.

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GARRATT-John W. Garratt was born in Otsego county, New York, in 1809. He came to Linn County in 1857 and settled in Potosi township. He died there July 4, 1872. He married Amanda Daniels in Garrattsville, New York (the town was named in honor of his family) in 1829; she died in 1852. In 1854 he married Rebecca Carpenter of New York and she died in Linn County February 29, 1878. He left two sons, John Garratt and Neal Garratt. He served as postmaster at Potosi and in 1859 built the first sawmill in that vicinity. The son John Garratt was married October 12, 1867, to Maria B. Harris, born in Philadelphia as the daughter of John Jeremiah and Margaret Harris who later lived at Woodburn, Illinois. She was teaching school in Old Potosi at the time of her marriage and they lived there until 1881 when they moved to Pleasanton where he followed his trade as a carpenter. They had two daughters, Mrs. Cora Lockwood of Faith, South Dakota, and Elida who married Albert R. Cottle, son of Thomas D. Cottle and nephew of Dave Cottle the race horse man of Liberty township and also nephew of John David Day another famous horseman. Albert R. Cottle has been for twenty-five years a deputy in the office of the United States Marshal at Muskogee, Oklahoma. John Garratt lived in Linn County sixty-five years, having come here when he was fourteen years old. In 1862 he enlisted in Company M, Second Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and served to the end of the war. Mrs. Garratt was one of eleven charter members of the First Presbyterian Church of Pleasanton when it was organized October 11, 1869.

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HARKNESS-Kelton Wilson Harkness of Scotch ancestry was from New York Revolutionary stock who came very early to Illinois. There were eight brothers who settled near Peoria, and the families were so numerous the neighborhood became noted as “Harkness Grove”, a name it still bears. In 1857 “Kel” as he was always familiarly known came to the southeast corner of Linn County and as a mere boy established a “claim” to a quarter section of land by occupying it and building a shack in which to live. The Bushwhackers notified him to leave, but he stayed and he owed his life to his faithful dog who “whispered” to his master in the night and by his nervousness told of the presence of strangers. “Kel” was sleeping out in the weeds and heard the posse instructed to shoot him on sight. Some how he escaped them and he got that land by a patent signed by Abraham Lincoln as President, and it is a remarkable item of history that in 1865 this Linn County boy was one of the six selected to carry the body of Abe Lincoln to its last resting place in Springfield, Illinois. These six boys were each given a badge prepared by the Government authorities to wear as active pallbearers and that badge and the patent to the land with Lincoln's signatures are treasures carefully kept by the family. In 1861 when the Civil War came on he was yet only eighteen years old. He walked to Westport Landing and went by boat to his old home near Peoria and enlisted with boyhood friends in the Third Illinois Cavalry and was elected sergeant. At the close of the war in 1865 he returned to his old home and married Julia White and to them ten children were born, eight of whom are living in 1927, so that Mrs. Kelton W. Harkness happily living in her own home is surrounded by eight children with their families amounting to fourteen grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren, some record in following the Biblical injunction. The surviving children are Lee, who married Liza Reeves, Minnie married Ross Kennedy, Ernest married Elvira Ham, Jeannette married Ed Blackman, Ella married Otto Nichols, Capitola is unmarried, Dexter married Matie Hinton, Riley married Ella Roy.

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HARMON-Oliver Dickinson Harmon was born in Portage county, Ohio, June 16, 1828. His parents were of Puritan descent and in religion Congregationalists. His father’s name was Chauncey Harmon and the maiden name of his mother was Comfort Dickinson. Leaving the school he was teaching in Kentucky, he emigrated to Kansas in the spring of 1857 and settled in Scott township, Linn County, on a claim which he preempted. In 1879 he sold his farm and engaged in the general merchandise business at La Cygne. He was assistant United States assessor for two years and deputy United States collector for three years. He was county surveyor of Linn County two years, township trustee four years, represented his district in Linn County for two terms in the state legislature in 1866 and 1867. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for over twenty-five years and was Secretary of La Cygne Lodge No. 66. He was an active member of the Patrons of Husbandry and was secretary of Elm Grove Grange. For seven years he was secretary of Linn County Agricultural Society and was a director of the State Board of Agriculture. He was married in Scott township, Linn County, March 17, 1858, to Miss Mattie J. Preston, daughter of Thomas Hess Preston. They had two sons, Chauncey P. who married Miss Elizabeth Hungerford, and Frank H. who married Miss Mollie Denton, daughter of Richard A. Denton.

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HAZLETT-William Miller Hazlett and six of his brothers came from Indiana county, Pennsylvania, to Linn County as early as 1855. They were all enthusiastic anti-slavery men, and Albert the oldest became a close associate of Old John Brown and was with him at Harper's Ferry and was one of those hanged at Charles Town jail. John, another brother, located two miles south of Prescott and married Grace Lonsburg, daughter of William Lonsburg, who lived on an adjoining farm, and have many descendants still living in the neighborhood. William Miller Hazlett served in a Pennsylvania regiment and married Elizabeth Fyock, widow of Levi Fyock of Indiana, Pennsylvania, and they came to Linn County in 1864 with six of the Fyock children, two girls and five boys. Charles Fyock, one of these seven, had served in Company F, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, joined the family here in 1866 and married Sarah Gump, daughter of John Gump, who had come here from Morgan county, Missouri. Charles and Sarah had six children. John married Julie Scott; Cora married Case Eubanks; William; Lester married Miss Peavy; these children are all in Colorado; Grace married Dwight Cheever; Murray McKinley is at home unmarried.

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HENSLEY-The Hensleys were Kentucky people. William Hensley arrived in Linn County about 1860. He married Jane Fickes, sister to Morgan. John Paton Hensley of the same family married Lucy Ogan and was a soldier in the Sixth Kansas Cavalry under David Goss. His son Bush had a son named Melvin, who enlisted in the Coast Artillery and served in France.

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HIGHLEY-Hyrcanus Highley served in the Civil War in Company C, Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry. His, family came from Wyethville, Virginia, where he was born August 17, 1842. The mother and several children lived at Paola. January 17, 1869, Hyrcanus married Mary Matilda Dixon, daughter of John Dixon of La Cygne, their two children being Carrie who died at twelve years of age, and Herbert Thomas who died in Kansas City at the age of thirty-six leaving a daughter, Bonita Marie, who is now in school at Fremont, Nebraska. On April 27, 1921, Hyrcanus was married a second time to Mrs. Mary Petefish. Suffering a severe injury in an accident in later years he was taken to the Soldier’s Home in Leavenworth where he died June 15, 1925, leaving his wife and two half sisters, Mrs. W. J. Lane and Mrs. George Majors, both of Garnett, Kansas, and a brother Thomas M. Highley, late police commissioner of Oklahoma City. The Highleys were a forceful people leaving a record of good citizenship.

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HINDS-George Washington Hinds, familiarly known as "Wash". was long one of the principal land owners of Valley and Potosi townships. The Hinds were a New York family and his father Benjamin Hinds was a lieutenant under Mad Anthony Wayne at the battle of Lundy’s Lane and won personal commendation from that popular hero. Benjamin married Nancy Fox, a Kentucky woman. There was a large family and they came west in three wagons drawn by oxen and Wash says they had no trouble from faulty spark plugs but it did take a good many gallons to the mile. They came across Missouri by way of Gasconade, Fort Osage, Eldon, and in 1854 arrived at a spot in Linn County about a mile west of where the Marais des Cygnes crosses the state line, and that neighborhood has been their home since. About a mile away Willis Hill made a home on Mine Creek and in April 1855 married Ellen Hinds, sister to Wash. The Tates and Swansons also settled near. Neighbors were scarce and social life very dull, but they got along handsomely. They had good feather beds and they spun and wove cotton and woolen and linen cloth to clothe a big bunch of people. One spring Wash killed thirty- nine wild turkeys, so fat they would burst when they fell. There were so many wild pigeons they would break the limbs off the trees where they roosted.John McHenry an uncle to Wash Hinds, was a member of the Missouri legislature from Bates county and died during a session at Jefferson City. They brought him home and Uncle Jackie Williams of Trading Post preached the funeral sermon. Osage and Miami Indians were numerous and good neighbors. Of this family the surviving children are Jane, who married Thomas Heath and lives in Butler, Missouri; John married Hattie Potts, now in California; Sarah married John Moon of Cass county; Vernie married James Brown; Martha married Sawyer Makinson; Ben married Delia Allmon, sister of Frank; Frances married Robert Barton; Tennessee Lansdowne married Dr. Rees; and George Washington married Nettie Makinson of English birth and after her death married Mary Ellen Fisher by whom he had three children: Jackson Benjamin, now in Montana; Mabel Ellen, now a demonstrator in home economics for the county agent; and George Winifred, a teacher in Jackson county.

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HOYT-Oscar Hoyt was the son of Ira Hoyt, born in Rutland, Vermont, and his wife Hannah Graves Fairbanks of Massachusetts. Oscar was born in Kalmazoo, Michigan, in 1846 and came to Linn County in 1874. He was married to Julia Amelia Lyman. They made their home in Liberty township. Of their children Eugene married Mary Mays, Belle married W. B. Kerr, Oscar L. married Stella Griffith, and Robert L. is unmarried.

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HUMMEL-The Hummels came through from Delaware City, Ohio, with the Elihu Ireland family. They arrived about 1867. Solomon Hummel’s wife was Christina Dinward. Of their children Emma married D. King McCoach, Nettie married Al Weidman, Grace married Joe Rose, and Mattie married Ed Puckett. Daniel Hummel, brother to Sol, married Ellen, daughter of Elihu Ireland.

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HUMPHREY-Albert Lemuel Humphrey was a successful cattle man, accumulating a fortune in various kinds of property. He made his home at Pleasanton, in the vicinity of which town he owned nearly a thousand acres of land. He was born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1848, and was married there in 1870 to Jennie E. Rickford from Pennsylvania. Verner Humphrey, a son, was born to them at Pleasanton in 1872. Jeannette became the wife of William M. Laughlin; she died at her home in Blue Mound in 1914.





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